Sixth Grade HAB Launch was (Nearly) Out of this World
Sixth grade students worked on their HAB projects throughout the spring and were very excited to get the High Altitude Balloons aloft at last. The student-designed and built satellites were the result of research and skill-building in both the science and the innovation labs.
Inside the satellites, students programmed Raspberry Pi computers as sensors for temperature, pressure, humidity, and altitude data collection. Also included were student-imagined experiments to see how near-space conditions would affect living and non-living things. Satellites with their loads were then attached to the balloons by tether lines in preparation of launch. Dr. Paul Verhage from NearSys served as the team's liasion providing launch and recovery tracking procedures and tech expertise along the way.
Students were involved in researching possible launch sites. Despite the convincing ideas of one student who was interested in a "Mission Impossible" style launch requiring both climbing and scuba gear, students settled on a flatter, easier to access launch site in Eastern Washington.
Post-launch, students headed back to mission control (the hotel) to track the balloons and monitor conditions of the flight. The balloons made it to roughly 93,000 feet before starting descent and landing in a farm field northeast of Moses Lake.
Recovered satellites are now back in the lab for data and experiment recovery and examination.