The West Bridgford School

A Specialist Technology Academy

Balloon Launch

IMG 73092012 Weather Balloon Report

On 13th March 2012 several sixth form students launched a weather balloon from outside the world studies block, many teachers and students turned up to watch the big event. At 8am they filled the balloon with special gas which took it up into the upper atmosphere.

The on-board computer brought back some important information and data; the balloon was also fitted with a camera and brought back so exciting photos.

A temporary HQ in world studies block monitored progress with a hi-tech GPS (global positioning system) to show where the balloon landed.

Countdown and launch happened around 8:10am having been given the green light. One of the staff said “It was just like a NASA launch”.

By O King

2012 Weather Balloon ReportDSC00114

On Tuesday 13 March a group of Year 12 students, Jordan Phillips, Luke Skills, Luke Adams, Lingyi Yang, Judith Lesowiec and Gagan Sehmbi, launched a balloon from outside world studies to travel to the upper layers of the atmosphere.

They had worked hard with Mr Green to try to collect data in the form of video footage and photos, the aim with taking the photos was to get a shot to show the curvature of the earth. They designed a box to carry 3 cameras and mobile phone with a built in GPS to collect videos and images. The box was designed to be light and aerodynamic so the material they used was polystyrene sheets. Due to the freezing temperatures at altitude the electronic devices wouldn’t survive the extreme cold so the team decided to use chemical hard warmers, which the group had tested in the freezer. The mobile phone was used to track down the box when it had landed, so the team and Mr Green could track it down and download the footage.

The head teacher, Mr McDonough, very kindly donated £500 towards the project.

The special balloon was inflated with helium kindly donated by Nottingham University.

The initial diameter of the balloon was 1 metre, but as it travelled into the upper atmosphere due to the pressure drop and lack of oxygen the balloon reached a diameter of 8 metres before bursting. The balloon reached 32.522 km above the earth.

The box then dropped back to earth at a rate of 13ft per second. It had a small parachute. The whole flight took 1hr 17 mins. The group then travelled with Mr Green to retrieve the box which had landed in a field near Bourne, Lincolnshire. The equipment had survived the journey and the group received some amazing footage.

By B Phillips.

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