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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 usually with some kind of 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 will launch our first balloon by January 2018. The first balloon will be equipped with a camera and electronic sensors to test the efficacy of our system. Future balloons will be launched with various research experiments. The first research experiment will come within STAC, and will test 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.