MICDS science students launch weather balloon into stratosphere

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LADUE, MO (KTVI) - On May 7, the MICDS freshmen science classes launched a high altitude balloon in order to gather various scientific data. They worked with a company called Stratostar. The balloon included a parachute, electronic sensors (temperature, altitude, humidity, pressure, and accelerometers), video cameras, and GPS tracking devices.

The students involved in the project are part of one of five groups: mission control, payload construction, a launch team, a recovery team, and a media team.

The mission control team used special software to determine the best launch site, predict the location of the balloon landing, and the collection of data from the electronic sensors. In addition, mission control worked with the recovery team to track the path of the balloon in real-time.

The payload team constructed some of the electronic sensors and secured the sensors in containers.

The launch team worked to construct the balloon structure and fill the balloon with helium. The recovery team followed the balloon and the recovered it when it landed west of Girard, Illinois, about 70 miles northeast of St. Louis.

The media team will put together a documentary on the project. They also communicated through social media to other students and the public.

A sample of alfalfa seeds also went up with the balloon. The seeds were exposed to different wavelengths of electromagnetic energy while in flight. They plan to germinate them in order to determine the effects of different wavelengths of electromagnetic energy on the seeds.

There were approximately 60 students and 5 teachers involved in the project which is an extension of the school’s coding/programming unit. The unit involved coding/programming and constructing the circuits to exhibit the coding all of which was used on-board the balloons.

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