University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Space Studies and Space Grant Consortium hold balloon competition

Space Studies students and the NASA North Dakota Space Grant Consortium are holding the second annual Near-Space Balloon Competition.

As part of the competition, groups of 3-20 students in grades 6-12 are encouraged to submit proposals for scientific payloads that could be carried into near space. Students have until Wednesday, Dec. 5, to submit proposals. They will be informed of the status of their proposals by Friday, Dec. 14.

Near-space balloons carry payloads up to 100,000 feet into the stratosphere and can be used for imaging, testing, equipment in future space flight, space physics and engineering experiments. Groups with the winning proposals will be given $250 to build the payload and attend the April 2013 launch of two balloons in Bismarck.

Payloads that are launched will have the chance to win prizes. One middle school and one high school team will each win $750 for the best overall payloads.  There will also be a grand prize – $1,500 given to the school’s science program and a trip to UND where the students will visit the Department of Space Studies, fly the space flight simulators, tour the Space Suit Laboratory, and view the UND Observatory.

The goal of the competition is to involve statewide student participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and space projects.

Created in 2011 by Santhosh Seelan, professor chair of Space Studies, the Near-Space Balloon Competition provides students in middle school through high school the opportunity to get involved with a NASA-funded project.

Video about last year’s balloon launch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eItjEZ9o5e8. For more information, contact Marissa Saad, Space Studies graduate, at marissa.saad@my.und.edu or balloons@ndspacegrant.org.

-- Leigh Kelly, student writer, University Relations, 777.3488.


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