Florida Space Grant Consortium

Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project for Florida students

The NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium in partnership with Spaceloon and the National Eclipse Ballooning Project (NEBP)is offering an opportunity for students (US Citizens only and 18 years or older) who are enrolled in any FSGC affiliated university/college or any of the State of Florida’s Community Colleges and/or 4-yr Colleges to participate in a Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning project for 2 years starting Fall of 2022. This will involve the Annular Solar Eclipse in 2023 and the Total Solar Eclipse in 2024. Selected students will also be offered a scholarship of $2000/year for 2 years. Students must commit to this project for the entirety of the 2 years, starting in the Fall of 2022. In this program, team(s) of students will work together to successfully launch a weather balloon from Texas and Arkansas and collect live data from the payload that travels up to 100,000 feet. 

NEBP is an innovative NASA-mission-like adventure in data acquisition and analysis through scientific ballooning during the 10/14/2023 annular and 4/8/2024 total solar eclipses. NEBP includes development and implementation of two learner-centered activity tracks – engineering and atmospheric science. At sites along the eclipse path, student teams in the engineering track will use innovative larger balloon systems to live stream video to the NASA eclipse website, observe in situ perturbations in atmospheric phenomena, and conduct individually designed experiments. Atmospheric science track teams will make frequent observations by launching hourly radiosondes on helium-filled weather balloons. Student participants will work with atmospheric science experts throughout the project and will publish results in peer-reviewed journals.  There is no cost to the student to participate in the project. Travel costs to Texas and Arkansas will be paid by FSGC.

Preparation will begin with the selection of 10 students that will divided into 1~2 teams. We will try and select students from the same institution for each team. However, depending on the students selected, some teams may have students from a number of colleges. In that case, we will group students from colleges located near each other. Discussions on possible experiments, hardware & program will take place through a number of virtual and live Sessions. The exact date and times will be determined later.

All selected students will receive a scholarship of $2,000 per year (i.e., $4,000 in total). The scholarship duration is for 2 years starting from the Fall semester of 2022. Students have to commit to this project for the entirety of the 2 years. Once the teams(s) are selected, they will have to submit a proposal (with the help of FSGC) to the NEBP program. If the NEBP organizers select the teams(s),  they will be provided the equipment and travel support for the eclipse balloon launches in Texas and Arkansas. 

Only US citizens (18 years or older) enrolled in a FSGC affiliated university or college or 2-year Community College or 4-year College in Florida and studying in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM)-related discipline are eligible for this project. Please see eligibility requirements below. The goal of the program is to train and recruit Florida science/engineering students (US citizens only) into the aerospace & aviation workforce as future employees, while encouraging further study and academic achievement.

Interested students should submit a completed application package to FSGC that includes a personal objective statement discussing educational and career goals, and the benefits derived from a Space Grant scholarship, 1 letter of recommendation, Applications are to be submitted to the FSGC.

Application and Program structure – Deadline May 6, 2022

Students will submit their application online at https://ucf.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3f4RXvTpYTlD7Cu, by May 6, 2022 and will include the following (details in the link above):

1) Essays

  • Studies Interest
    200 word essay on how your career goals might align with the activities of the space related industry and/or NASA. Address how do you plan to achieve these goals?
  • Relevant experience and awards
    Describe any relevant work, military, or co-op experience, awards, and/or honors. (200 words or less)

2) Contact information for faculty/advisor/chair reference or recommendation. Please inform your advisor that he/she will get an email from FSGC requesting a letter of reference.

3) Student’s contact and education information (current GPA & standing – e.g., freshman)

4) Post-graduation plans / professional school / graduate school / aerospace related employment


Scholarship Information

The stipends will be paid directly to the students by FSGC through a third party, Education Program Student Services. For the 2022-23 academic year, Scholars will be paid a total of $2,000, in two stages. 50% of the stipend will be paid to the student  within 14 days of the NEBP acceptance date (scheduled Nov. 2022), provided the students have submitted the paperwork provided to them after the notice of their selection. The rest 50% will be paid by March of 2023, provided the students have actively taken part in the project by attending all the required workshops and webinars.

For the 2023-24 Academic Year, the scholars will be paid $2000 as a stipend provided they have actively participated in the 2022-23 eclipse project. For the 2023-24 academic Year, the first 50% of the scholarship will be paid by the end of October 2023 and the final 50% by the end of April 2024, provided the students have participated the 2023 annular eclipse launch.

Eligibility requirements for the students are:

  • Scholars must be US citizens. (Permanent residents are not eligible)
  • Scholars must be 18 years or older
  • At least half-time enrollment
  • Current high school and dual-credit students are not eligible to apply.

Reporting Requirements

  • FSGC College Scholars are required to submit a one-page written summary on how your ideas of careers with NASA and space industry have changed after their scholarship period.
  • One-page technical summary on your experience with the ballooning project.

FSGC reserves the right to require additional information / reports / waivers as may be required to comply with funding agency requirements at any time during the scholarship and within 1 year from the scholarship end date.


  • April 1, 2022 – Request for student scholars released
  • May 6, 2022 – Closing date for student applications

(The 2nd call for the application may be announced in May if it’s necessary)

  • July 29, 2022 – Student / interns informed
  • August 22, 2022 – Program commences, Scholars paid their first 50% provided they have submitted all the required paperwork.
  • Jan 2023 ~ April, 2024 – Participating NEBP project (the detailed activities and timelines will be announced later).
  • March 31, 2023 – Scholars will be paid their final 50% provided that they have taken part in the activities.
  • Details of the $2000 stipend payment for 2023-24 will be released by summer of 2023.

For questions on the scholarships or the ballooning program, please contact FSGC Director, Dr. Jaydeep Mukherjee (jaydeep.mukherjee@ucf.edu)


Technical support

Basic Equipment and launch service are provided by FSGC:

  1. Flight Computer, Flight Frame, Camera Mount, Balloon, Parachute, Spot Trace Satellite Tracker, temperature pressure sensor, 8GB Micro SD card, camera
  2. Launch Service:
    • Onsite launch preparation and logistics
    • Software & Ground station for Radiosonde Data-Collection and Analysis
  1. Pre- and post-launch technical support:
    • Payload development
    • Data analysis and report

Flight Computer will have:

    • 1 external temperature sensor that works from -75C to 125C & Payload Temperature Sensor
    • humidity sensor, pressure sensor, barometer altitude sensor
    • 4 UV sensors
    • Gyroscope, Accelerometer & Compass Sensor
    • GPS
    • Camera sensor
  • Pods can accept 5 I2C sensors (of the same kind or different), 4 digital and 4 analog sensors.

Useful links

  • Ballooning FAQ and a Balloon Launch overview



  • COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) products


  • Central Washington University “Weather Balloon Payload Box” Undergrad Project

In 2017, Mechanical Engineering and Physics students designed a weather balloon payload box capable of withstanding the anticipated impact force and implemented a rotating camera-platform which could transmit live-images to the “ground station” during balloon ascent. $400 budget, no radiosonde—only temperature sensors to check the insulation of the payload box.


  • Robert Lowe “HabPi: An Open Source Extensible Framework for HighAltitude Balloon Data Collection”

The paper details a simple weather balloon project program for students (adaptable to most common mission cases), including costs, how-to notes on assembly, etc. “HabPi” (modified Raspbery Pi) sensor array is argued to be superior central control unit for use in a multitude of balloon projects. https://www.iastatedigitalpress.com/ahac/article/5/galley/5411/view/              

  • Case Study: SHARE Mission, 2020

SHARE 2020 FALL – Student ONE Slide Reports – Google Slides

Students will learn about subjects such as meteorology, telemetry and how NASA takes different variables into account to perform missions, very similar to these. They will also learn about payload integration and how to plan and efficiently carry out a weather balloon launch. Students will develop payloads to be sent on the weather balloon conducting experiments and gather results as it ascends and descends through the atmosphere.