South Florida Weather Ballooning Workshop

Sponsored by the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium

Hosted by SpaceLoon

SpaceLoon will be hosting a Weather Ballooning workshop (virtual and live) for undergraduate students at the following colleges and universities (Univ. of Miami, Florida International University, Broward College and Miami Dade College). The live workshop and launch will be held at Florida International University (FIU).

The Academy is sponsored wholly by the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium.

In this program, 15 college students will participate as one large team, with smaller technical units to successfully launch a weather balloon, and collect live data from the payload that travels up to 100,000 feet. 

  • There is no cost to the student, except for travel to FIU for the launch and workshop.
  • Lunch will be provided during the live workshop. 

After the balloon launch , every participant will be provided a certificate of completion.

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.

Preparation will begin with the selection of 15 students. Discussions on possible experiments, hardware & program will take place  through 1 virtual Session. 

  • The first virtual session will last 3 hours and include introduction to weather balloons, identification of the experiments, bill of materials required to design and build them.
  • The second session will be alive session at FIU and will last 3 hours, and focus on methods for building the experiments, and programming the various sensors. Boxed launches will be provided.
  • Your payloads will be launched in one single flight launch from Florida International University’s (FIU’s) main campus in collaboration with the AstroScience center at FIU. The flight data from student’s payload will be sent to the SpaceLoon™s deployable mobile tracker antenna receiver system. The received data will then be displayed on the large screen monitor at the AstroScience center’s main lab room on the ground floor. The lab can accommodate 32 students, has large screen projector and equipped with the computer access to the students.

Participants will work on independent teams with students assigned to different positions similar to those used by NASA, including Flight Director, Safety Officer, Payload Integration, Launch Operations, and Meteorology. Instructors will train students to perform their tasks and then assist in operations as the students take lead. Emphasis is on communication among various teams and to follow their roles to achieve a successful launch and recovery.

Participants will also learn how to test equipment, use checklists, and prepare all the components for the final launch. The main piece of hardware is the flight computer, which has the capability to record variables such as humidity, pressure, temperature, velocity, and altitude.

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.

As the balloon travels through the atmosphere, the flight data will be constantly transmitted to the ground station at the launch location (Florida International University) where students can watch a live feed on a map of the balloon flight. Alongside this data students can correlate the behavior of their experiment to draw possible conclusions.

Application & Selection Process:

  • The workshop is open only to students enrolled in the following universities (University of Miami, Florida International University, Broward College, and Miami Dade College)
  • Click on the application form, complete, sign and submit

    Application form

  • Selection will be based on the data filled in the form. Applicants are due November 8, 2021 and notification will be emailed by November 10th.We will select 15 students to participate in the workshop

Schedule Table

Item Location Date Day Session Overview
Session 1 Virtual 11/13/21 Saturday Meet n Greet, Program Introduction, Team Formation, and Science Payload Introduction
Session 2 AstroScience Center main lab room on the ground floor 1/8/22 Saturday Hardware Distribution, Training on Payload development
Session 3 AstroScience Center main lab room on the ground floor 1/15/22 Saturday Flight launch, live data collection, certificate distribution, and end of the workshop
         
         
       
       

If you have any questions on the application process, please email Dr. Pradeep Shinde (Pradeep.shinde@spaceloon.com) and Dr. Jaydeep Mukherjee (jaydeep.mukherjee@ucf.edu)