West Ferris Secondary School High Altitude Ballon Project

The students in the Grade 11 University Physics Class at West Ferris Intermediate Secondary School in North Bay, Ontario will be launching a weather balloon into Earth’s Stratosphere with a payload of camera-toting mini computers and radio tracking equipment.

The purpose of the mission is to observe and record the journey to near space using inflight radio transmissions of GPS location, data, video and images. The High Altitude Balloon (HAB) is expected to explode at an altitude of just over 30 kilometres, at which point a parachute will deploy and the payload will descend back to Earth. The flight is expected to take a total of about three hours. Data from the flight will provide experimental results and serve as an anchor activity providing authentic context to course materials.

The students will then track the HAB’s flight path in chase cars. The goal is to retrieve the payload post-flight, along with its cache of data, video and images.

The launch procedure is weather dependent and so the exact launch date is still to be determined. The launch will take place between October 9 and October 31 from the football field at West Ferris Secondary School. Once the launch date is finalized they will release the exact launch date and time 72 to 48 hours prior to the event.

A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) will be filed before the flight. Tracking will be accomplished using a Byonics HAB transmitter as well as a Pi In The Sky board. A Spot Trace will be used for ground recovery.

High Altitude Balloon programs, like those at West Ferris School in North Bay and at Shaftesbury High School in Winnipeg, encourages kids to participate in the world of science and technology and the teachers use Amateur Radio as a key tool.

For more information about this ongoing project, please contact Kelly Shulman, VE3KLX, from West Ferris Intermediate Secondary School at .

Radio Amateurs of Canada, through its Youth Education Program and its Scholarship and Grant Program – completely funded by donations from RAC members and affiliated clubs – is pleased to supported HAB flights and other youth-oriented programs and activities involving Amateur Radio across the country (see https://www.rac.ca/shaftsbury-high-school-receives-grant-from-rac/).

– Thanks to Kelly Shulman, VE3KLX, for this information.