CAC Students Participate in Balloon Launch

By Angela Askey, Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

Seven Central Arizona College students enrolled in the High Altitude Balloon Payload science class (SCI198A1) joined other college students from around the state for two NASA-sponsored balloon launches on Saturday, April 1. The launches took place at the University of Arizona’s Maricopa Agricultural Station.

The CAC team’s balloon carried packages consisting of two cameras and other instruments for measuring temperature, pressure and light levels. The student-built package was covered in silver glitter, which helped it show up at large distances.

The launch took place at 9:30 a.m. with the balloon ascending rapidly and moving southeast. The team followed the balloon’s tracking beacon relayed through the internet to their cell phones and reassembled at the Love’s gas station in Arizona City. From there, they watched the distant white dot in the sky.  Following the burst in the stratosphere near 100,000 feet in altitude, the dot suddenly disappeared. The packages, supported with a parachute, descended into a field along Sunland Gin Road.  Upon recovery of the package the team found that all experiments were intact.

The students are currently analyzing the data they recovered and will present their results at a NASA-sponsored Science Symposium in Phoenix later this month.

collage of balloon launch 

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