Flight Seven - February 24, 2016
Balloon Size: 1500 gram
Payload Weight: 5.48 pounds
Neck Lift: 10 pounds
Free Lift: 100% or 5.4 pounds
Ascent Rate: Shooting for 1200/minute
Descent Rate: Shooting for 1600/minute
Burst Altitude (predicted): Shooting for 110,000 feet
Burst Altitude (actual): 93,054
HAM Call Signs: W0RC-12 and K0DCW-12
Launch Location: Forestview Middle School

Here were the predicted paths of the flight and the actual path.

Prediction Site: HAB Prediction Site Prediction Site: 3S Reseach Site
Actual Flight Path
Google Earth path in 3D. Image cretaed by Ron Finger

We will be flying a lot of devices this year. Here are some we know will be making the payload: 360fly camera, GoPro, PocketFinder, RTrak HAB, Wink Bot with temp and altimeter sensors, 4 foot parachute and a few science experiements from Mr. Hanson and Mr. Danielson.

Week One: We worked on defining a bunch of terms that will help the kids in their understanding of the process. We also looked at all the equipment that we will be flying and talked about each pieces purpose.

Week Two: We spent the week in the CAD lab learning how to design parts in the engineering software. It has been fun. The kids love to be able to make stuff in CAD. We will be starting payload design next week. Once we start designing, kids can also use the CAD lab to 3D design parts for the payload and then print then on one of the two Flashforge Dreamer printers. That is a fun process. We will try nd get some pictures added soon!

Payload One: PocketFinder (secondary tracker) and a 360Fly Camera Payload Two: RTrak HAB (primary tracker), PocketFinder, HOBO data unit with temp sensor
Payload Three: 2 film containers, petri dishes and an RTrak HAB Payload Four: Wink robot with pressure sensor, temp sensor and LED readout and a GoPro camera

Week Three: The young engineers spent the week working on their payload ideas and designs. They worked on getting their ideas drawn onto graph paper so they can present to the group at the end of the week. Some creative ideas are in the works. Always interesting to see what young engineers can come up with.

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Discussing payload ideas with the group Mr. Olson and the 360fly group discussing some ideas Sharing their idea with Kevin, the creator of the Wink robot Idea looks good. Wink should be happy!

Kids presenting to the rest of the class on their designs and their progress in regards to their payloads. Nice discussing on how everything has to fit together and how teams are approaching their payload design. It is always fun watching the young engineers present their ideas. Thanks Kieran Moore for the nice pictures.

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Ashlee and Mike sharing payload idea Patrick their groups payload Group discussing on linking on the payloads together Mr. Olson talking engineering
Ben, Alyson, Oliver and Aleah presenting to the Brainerd Lakes HAM Radio Club. They did a wonderful job. Proud of those kids!!

Launch day. We had a super good turnout. Lots of parents came out to support their kids and support our program. We want to also take the time to thank Mr. Gross, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Murtha for coming out to support our program. We offered an open house in the morning so parents could learn from their children about this wonderful project! Thanks to Mary Moore for taking some wonderful pictures!!! Nice job Mary!!

Katherine talking payloads to anybody who will listen Aleah explaining the whole project to her mom Starting the filling process
Michael and Barrett explaining the army man payload Proud creator of the army man payload Talking electronics with kids and parents
We just love this picture of Katherine. Awesome kid!! Getting close to release Mr. Olson getting ready to let everything go
Mr. Reed helping untangle payloads Getting close Still filling
Up, up and away Watching the balloon climb Up, up and away
Our landing zone All tangled up and in some trees

The purpose of sending bacteria on a high altitude balloon launch was to test the effect of high altitude on microorganisms collected from 2 places: a wristwatch and the mouth of an 11 year old boy.

We prepared two agar plates by boiling nutrient agar/gelatin mixture into sterile petri dishes, letting the gel set, and then used a swab to collect bacteria samples from both the watch and the mouth of the boy. Next we wiped the swabs each on a different section of the petri dish, put the lid on, and labeled them (leaving one blank and labeling it control). We got two more samples of bacteria from the watch and mouth and repeated the previous step. Then we taped both lids shut. We put one of the petri dishes in the payload and kept the other on the ground as a control.

We did see some differences in the growth and appearance of the two plates. It appears that the high altitude affected the bacteria by slowing the growth. The bacteria that stayed on the ground grew faster. It also looks like there was more bacteria on the petri dish that stayed on the ground. Also the sections of the petri dishes we left blank still had a little growth on them.

This image shows the two petri dishes we made. The petri dish on the left is the one that went up in the balloon's payload. The one on the right is the control (it stayed on the ground). The petri dish that stayed on the ground grew more bacteria than the one that went up into the atmosphere.

High altitude has a lot of variables like, a colder temperature, less air pressure, and radiation. All of these variables could affect the bacteria. We don't know how much any of them (or other variables) affected the bacteria we sent up.

Future experiments could try to focus on one of these variables. The next flight could be modified with a heating device to eliminate the colder temperature. We could test to see if the cold affected the bacteria at all. Or we could use something to try to block the radiation. It would be very difficult to isolate just one variable for testing because there are so many. Plus every flight would be a little different, it would be exceptionally hard to get exactly the same conditions each time you launched. So, although you may not be able to isolate just one variable you could try to take away some of them for future flights.

We should also take pictures of the plates more frequently to compare growth rates as well as overall growth. Figuring out exactly what kind of microorganisms survive the flight would also be interesting.

Our SUPER group of kids. Nice job High Altitude Balloon kids!!!
Maybe we just inpsired some young mind to become an engineer, scientist or take up other high tech field!!
This video was put together by Kieran Moore. His daughter was in this years High Altitude Balloon class. Thanks Mr. Moore for taking the time to do this for us!!

We flew a 360fly camera. You can see the balloon burst by visiting our FMS STEM page. If you view it on the computer, you can move the mouse up and down to view all around you. If on a mobile device, you can tilt the device and rotate the device to view all around you.

Drone video footage shot by Mr. Dave Timm. Thanks for coming Dave!!
Wink robot goes to space. Wink robot created by PlumGeek.
Wink robot comes crashing home. Wink robot created by PlumGeek.
Thanks to Paul from NearSys.com for the making of the Timer Switch. Logan and Micheal did a wonderful job making the payload. It works like expected.

We will be using the amazing PocketFinder as our method of recovery once on the ground. The PF has never failed us! Love that thing. Thanks Dave Morse and the whole crew at PocketFinder for all the support!!!