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Balloon Payload Program

Balloon Program

Goal: to provide easy access to “near-space” for students who cannot afford a launch vehicle!

  • A weather balloon is used to lift small payloads to the edge of the atmosphere (85,000-100,00 ft altitude).
  • Payloads are not orbital but space-like conditions exist in terms of pressure, temperature, radiation environment.
  • Experiments can be performed on the way up and on the way down via parachute.
  • Students are involved in every aspect of this space launch program: payload design and construction, vehicle launch and recovery, post-flight data analysis.

MDSGC BPP Director:
Dr. Terry J. Teays, Johns Hopkins University

Principal Investigator:
Dr. Mary Bowden, Dept. of Aerospace Engineering, UMCP

Morgan State University Advisor:
Dr. Yacob Astatke, Department of Electrical Engineering

Capitol College Advisor: Dr. Angela Walters

MDSGC and the National Federation of the Blind Youth Slam 2007

During the summer of 2007 the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) conducted its first Youth Slam, where they brought 200 high school students who were blind or visually impaired to the campus of Johns Hopkins University for a week of hands-on science and engineering activities.

The Maryland Space Grant Consortium (MDSGC) supported the Youth Slam in several ways: providing financial support for students from Maryland who would not otherwise have been able to afford the registration fees, hosting a visit to the MDSGC Observatory, and running one of the major activities – Air Slam. Learn More

During 2009, MDSGC again conducted Air Slam during the second Youth Slam.  This time it was held at the University of Maryland College Park.



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