We began the most recent Space Balloon Flight Program in the Fall 2012. This technology project, sponsored by Space Science for Schools, was to plan and execute the launch of a high altitude weather balloon. Sensors on the balloon will record video, audio, temperature, and air pressure during a 2 hour flight over Northern Nevada. This 8-12 week project was targeted for middle school participants. This hands-on experience was designed to provide exposure to a real-world science and math experience.
The Boys and Girls Club in Kings Beach, California served as headquarters for our budding Space Scientists. Our 3rd through 6th Grade Space Scientists were drawn from 3 schools:
- Kings Beach Elementary School
- Tahoe Expedition Academy
- Lake Tahoe School
Students were being recruited to design a balloon payload, plan a launch and recovery mission, and become “mission control” on the day of the launch. Students are also needed to support the Media Team. Tasks include:
- Design Team – develop and assemble the balloon payload
- Mission Control – track the location of the balloon during flight and coordinate recovery
- Chase Crew – retrieve the payload after the flight
- Media Team – record the history and publicize the launch event
We met weekly with our Space Scientists for several hours on Monday afternoons to plan the mission. Our young Space Scientists were involved in every step of mission planning and execution.