Space Exploration ECS | High Altitude Balloon Payloads and Satellite Technology

March 14, 2017

In our Space Exploration ECS we completed our final TARC rocket modifications and prepared them for the launch. When modifying our rockets most teams learned that in order to have a successful launch and landing, the rocket’s parachutes must completely deploy and each group’s specific criteria met. To achieve these goals some teams needed to reinforce their parachutes while others redesigned fins for added stability.

Today we also worked on constructing our High Altitude Balloon (HAB) payloads. Within this process teams learned about building payloads to withstand high altitude conditions and modifying technology,  i.e. cameras, to withstand and perform in the harsh conditions of space. While doing this teams struggled to find a way to continuously charge electronic equipment and protect them from the frigid temperatures of our upper atmosphere. The solutions students developed were wiring external battery packs or external chargers to connect to their devices while being wary of the additional weight of their payload.

Learning about satellite imaging on Science on a Sphere Later in the day our ECS traveled again to the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs and talked with Mr. Elias Molen, Lou, and Josh H. Lou worked for NASA and helped with the Apollo 11 mission and Josh launched a high altitude balloon and constructed payloads like we are currently doing. We started our time at the Space Foundation by learning about satellite imaging by using science on a sphere technology. We learned what satellite imaging is used for and what other professions may benefit from this technology. Additionally, we looked at how satellite technology is affected by the highly charged electrons given off by the sun’s solar flares. After this Lou spoke of his experiences in the aerospace industry and the process of the steps necessary to get into the industry. We also spoke to Josh and learned more about high altitude ballooning and steps to success in our own balloon launch.

Lastly, we performed an activity that simulated the very basic workings of a satellite which taught us more about how they collect and evaluate data.

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