UND-based Space Consortium Holding Statewide High-altitude Balloon Payload Student Competition Near Bismarck

The North Dakota Space Grant Consortium, a statewide NASA program headquartered at the Department of Space Studies here at the University of North Dakota, is sponsoring a high-altitude balloon student payload competition this weekend.

The student groups are meeting at McDowell Dam near Bismarck, starting today through Sunday, to launch their payloads on a high altitude balloon. The payloads will be attached to a helium-filled balloon, reaching a possible altitude of 100,000 feet. Following the launch, the teams will track the balloon to its landing site and retrieve the payloads.

Cash prizes will be given to the groups’ science departments and a grand prize will be awarded. The grand prize is a trip to UND’s John D.Odegard School of Aerospace Science in Grand Forks.

Student groups from five schools from around the state have been selected to build their payload and compete in this year’s competition. Designed to promote learning in the STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, the NASA Space Grant Program hopes to inspire the young minds of tomorrow.

From Mandan, N.D.,10th-12th graders will test the effectiveness of solar panels in the upper atmosphere. Cavalier, N.D., 10th-12th graders will test the effects of the upper atmosphere on different forms of eggs. Bismarck 9th-12th graders will find a way to obtain live-streaming video from their payload.  Eight graders in Northwood, N.D., will measure the temperature during the balloon flight as well as take pictures of the Earth and horizon. And undergraduate students at Dickinson State University will test the variability of two strands of bacteria in the upper atmosphere.

For more information, contact:
Katrina Jackson
UND Space Studies

Suzette Bieri
North Dakota Space Grant Consortium