The GISW above the clouds


On May 5th, 2018 it was time for the GISW to send its first box on a weather balloon into a height of 20 000 m.

Students of the afternoon program course ‚Science for Experts‘ at the GISW spent the past months working on the box and especially on its content for the ‘Weather Balloon Project’.

On Saturday at 5:30 am, we headed over to Shenandoah Junction to be there when our first payload that was attached to a weather balloon that was launched up into the air. Unfortunately, the weather was less than perfect with quite a few clouds, but that did not put a damper on our excitement.

Shortly after 7am, a very professional team of the NEAR SPACE PROGRAM MD started filling the balloons and around 9am everything was ready for the launch.

Not only our GoPro cameras, but also our three sensors worked according to plan and brought us some amazing photos and very interesting data.

Here a few technical data points:
Max Height Reached: 23568 meters
Minimum Temperature Reached: -35.36 °C
Max Speed Reached: 179 km/h
Total time the system ran: 5 hours and 11 minutes
Flight Duration: 1 hour and 39 minutes
Time passed before flight (System ON): 26 minutes and 30 seconds
Time passed after flight (System ON): 3 hours and 13 minutes
Number of data rows: 1243
Number of data rows during flight: 399

After an hour and 39 minutes the balloon landed in a tree near Prettyboy Reservoir North of Baltimore and was recovered by a team of the ‚near space‘- initiative.

In the meantime, we have viewed the pictures and the data and and are now working on the analysis. We started with that that our little LAUNCH PARTY the first time our team met after the flight. Of course, we will publish the results in the near future!

All pictures on which you can see our box have kindly been provided to us by the NEAR SPACE PROGRAM MD.

We would like to thank the NEAR SPACE PROGRAM team of the University of Maryland, especially our contact person Tyler Boyle, who was always there for us and Prof. Dr. Derrick Lampkin who brought this project idea to the school and supported us with a strong personal commitment during all phases.

At this point, I would also like to thank the students Georgios K., Johannes Sch., and Vivien C. for their special dedication throughout the project. They really did excellent work and it was a true pleasure to be working with them.

Susanne Kneiske (AG instructor)

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