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High Altitude Balloon

High Altitude Balloon (HAB)
23 Sept

High Altitude Balloon


A high altitude balloon is an unmanned balloon, typically a weather balloon, that is launched into near space typically with a scientific payload or camera.

Balloons reach about 20-30 kilometers in altitude and stay aloft for 2-3 hours. High altitude balloons have recently been a focus in the scientific community as a low cost method of launching equipment into near space.

We have started developing a low cost High Altitude Balloon (HAB) program that enables a standardized system to test research experiments in a near-space environment. While there are a variety of space applications for high altitude balloons, the current project will focus on the long term goal of creating a reliable high altitude balloon for future STAC experiments. This way, observations can be made above the Earth’s atmosphere for a low cost.

We have already launched our first balloon in March and a second launc in April of 2018.

STAC HAB 1 Launch Video

With our first launch we achieved an altitude of 101,000 feet and were able to recover our balloon. We launched several experiments on the balloon, one for the Koskella/Lindow labs at Berkeley, and two for NASA, working with scientists at NASA Ames and NASA JPL. We tested the adaptability of microorganisms capable of surviving harsh environments on Earth to near space.

The subsequent balloon launches will contain experiments that are sourced from the UC Berkeley academic community as well as from STAC. This will form the foundation of a long lasting STAC HAB program with launches for years to come.