December Drop TestDecember 17th, 2004
High winds and cold temperatures forced us to cancel a drop test of our new parachute. The original mission objective
was to determine the descent rate of the new parachute using a simulated command module load, but the wind was too strong
on the St. Paul Agricultural Fields to complete the test. Visit the mission page
Website UpdateSeptember 30th, 2004
I just updated the L06 page. You can now see selected data graphs from our command module trasmitter. Pictures from the payload and
the launch site are up as well. More coming soon! Visit the mission page
Mission SynopsisSeptember 25th, 2004
Our last mission took us to an altitude of 100,080 feet above North Dakota. We sucessfully launched L06 on Saturday morning at 8:30 Central Time
with beautiful weather. The flight traversed only roughly 25 horizonal miles, and was recovered without incident. We carried the Concordia Payload up with
our command module. Concordia took data and pictures as well. For a more complete mission summary, visit the mission page
Website UpdateSeptember 03, 2004
I have updated the documentation page to include information on personnel responsibilities, managment strucutre,
selected electrical schemtaics, electronics flowcharts, and a sample flight data sheet. I hope this will provide people with a unique
way of looking at our program and systems. I will soon be adding a chart of airspace over Minnesota showing optimal launching
areas with respect to air traffic control airspace.
Next MissionAugust 26th, 2004
Due to cloud and wind obstruction, we had to postpone our latest flight in North Dakota. Our new
tenative date is the 25th of September. We will still be launching a balloon up to 100,000 feet with the
Concordia payload attached. If you are interested in volunteering, please e-mail me at this address
For more information,
check out the mission page
for all the details.
Last MissionJuly 8th, 2004
Our last flight was a flight up to 30,000 followed by a manual cut-down after the altitude switch
failed to activate. Check out the mission 3 page
for pictures and the video. Be sure to look at the pictures taken by the
MnSGC BalloonSat is the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium's high
altitude balloon program. The program was started in January 2003
by Dr. William Garrard, the MnSGC Director. MnSGC BalloonSat
was created to provide an accessible vehicle for student payloads to
reach near space.
The system is intended to provide a quick turnaround for projects.
This allows students to design, build, and fly their own payloads
within a short period of time. Most student satellite projects never
get launched and if they do, it's years after the students have
graduated. The vehicle also needs to be affordable and after the
initial investment of time and resources to develop the hardware,
the cost of sending up payloads is only a few hundred dollars.
The command module is reusable and student experiments typically
contain data collection equipment, so it is important to successfully
These requirements have led to the decision to use high altitude
weather balloons to lift payloads to altitudes of up to 20 miles.
A parachute is attached just below the balloon followed by the
payload and command module. The parachute is used to bring the command
module and payload safely to the surface. The payload will contain the
student experiment. The command module consists of a GPS receiver and a
radio, which transmits the balloon's position as well as telemetry
information. During this time, the GPS position is continuously
transmitted to the ground. Predictions of the balloon flight path
are made both before and during the flight. A recovery team can
then wait at the predicted landing zone for the parachute to bring
the command module and payload safely down to the ground.
Students are able to participate in all three levels of the
program: science, engineering, and operations. They can design
payloads, participate in the launch and recovery of the balloons,
lead teams or missions, and even design new engineering aspects of
Many thanks go out to HABET
, Iowa State University's balloon
project, for helping us get our feet off the ground. Dr. Bill Boyd and Mike
Cook were especially helpful. They provided initial help with design ideas,
documentation, and project organization.
Web site maintained by Adam Thoreen
Last updated: January 13th, 2005