Alumna, Educators Launching High Altitude Weather Balloons to Edge of Space


At noon on Houck Field, Southeast alumna Kaci Heins, education supervisor with the Space Center Houston, the Official Visitor Center for the NASA Johnson Space Center and teacher liaison for The Space Foundation, will help lead teachers and students from 17 local school districts in attaching scientific payloads carrying experiments they’ve created to two StratoStar high-altitude weather balloons. As they are released, onlookers can watch them begin to rise about 100,000 feet into the atmosphere.

The balloons will be tracked via GPS and their paths monitored via the Houck Field video board. GoPro and 360-degree cameras will be attached to the balloons to capture eclipse images from a spectacular vantage point in the earth’s stratosphere. Chase teams will capture the payloads when they fall back to earth, and the experiments will be returned to the teachers. They along with their students can then analyze the data, video and images recorded during the flight.

The campus can monitor the progress of the balloons and check out eclipse images captured from the balloons at StratoStar Mission Control. Southeast students, faculty and staff, alumni, regional community members and about 1,400 area school children will participate with their teachersin the event.