Two groups of students, staff and faculty from Montana State University and the Montana Space Grant Consortium gathered on a plateau overlooking the Yellowstone River east of Livingston on Thursday morning. Some checked the rigging on what looked to be cardboard and Styrofoam boxes–their modest exteriors belying the high tech equipment inside. Other team members filled a giant latex balloon with helium.
The two groups were working on launching their experiments into near-space, 100,000 feet above the Livingston airport runway where the groups met. The hands-on summer projects are giving Montana students an opportunity to engage in real world science and build their resumes.
Members of the Balloon Outreach, Research, Exploration and Landscape Imaging System (BOREALIS) Project, part of the MSGC, sent temperature and pressure sensors, still and video cameras, and a “command center” used to control the release of a parachute and send GPS coordinates, into the sky. Under the direction of Berk Knighton, BOREALIS flight director, the nine undergraduate interns, three from Tribal Colleges, and one high school student, from across Montana, spent 10 weeks designing and building experiments for several balloon flights.
Read more on the Montana State University website.