NASA science balloon will take student payloads to the stratosphere

The HASP and science balloon are ready for launch Sept. 14, 2021, from Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. Credit: NASA

NASA has selected nine teams of students to launch science payloads onto a NASA heavy-lift balloon for the 16th High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) mission flying during the fall 2022 campaign at Ft. Sumner, New Mexico.

HASP, which is led by Louisiana State University’s Department of Physics, is a joint project between the Balloon Program Office at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the Science Mission Directorate of NASA, the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium in Baton Rouge, and NASA’s Columbia Balloon Science Facility in Palestine, Texas.

“HASP provides college students with an authentic NASA experience to build a science payload, launch it, and analyze the data,” said Joyce L. Winterton, Wallops Senior Advisor for Education and Development. leadership. “It encourages students to pursue STEM careers and become part of NASA’s future workforce.”

HASP can support up to 12 student-built payloads. It houses and provides power, mechanical support, interfacing, data downlink, and control uplink communications for the instruments. Launched from NASA’s Balloon Launch Facility at Fort Sumner, flights typically last 12 to 15 hours, flying into the stratosphere at an altitude of approximately 23 miles.

Since 2006, the HASP program has selected more than 182 payloads for flight, of which 144 have been launched and 118 have been successful. The program involved more than 1,400 students from 29 US states and territories and four international teams.

NASA science balloon will take student payloads to the stratosphere

HASP 2021 hangs from the payload launcher awaiting launch from Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. Credit: NASA

Former student groups flew instruments to in-flight test compact satellites and prototype long-range communication devices, perform space science experiments, sample particles at the edge of space, perform remote sensing, testing rocket nozzles and measuring infrasound to correlate them with geophysical events.

This year’s student teams include:

  • Arizona State University’s High Atmosphere Research Team (HART) will attempt to determine if there is an identifiable correlation between surface-level hydration and neutron count, and a correlation between atmospheric hydration and neutron count. atmospheric neutrons.
  • The University of the Virgin Islands student team will test their low-cost design for gamma-ray burst detections, which will be a major part of their 3U CubeSat payload.
  • The Montana State University student team will continue to use HASP to test key components of the upcoming National Hot Air Balloon Eclipse Project during the 2023 and 2024 solar eclipses.
  • The Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería in Peru will enhance last year’s project to analyze the concentration of stratospheric aerosols, ozone and polluting gases.
  • The Cysol team at Iowa State University will prototype a new payload for measuring 30-centimetre-wavelength solar flux, or light energy, which will be the cornerstone of their CySAT CubeSat program.
  • The University of North Florida and the University of North Dakota will fly their payload for the ninth time with HASP, continuing to improve their design to measure ozone in Earth’s various atmospheric layers.
  • The Ourania team at College of the Canyons will focus on detecting antimatter particles in the upper stratosphere, as well as adding illustrations to the outside to measure how different pigments and materials react to light and to the temperature in the stratosphere.
  • The University of Maryland’s Generalized Aerosol Sampling Payload (GASP) will investigate large-scale dynamic drivers of stratosphere-troposphere exchange events, including mountain-generated gravity waves and subsequent mixing and dynamics in the stratosphere .
  • The High Altitude Deuterium to Hydrogen Receiver (HADHR) team at Arizona State University will fly an updated version of last year’s payload with the primary purpose of driving a sub-millimeter wave receiver and spectrometer, provided by Arizona State University and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to measure deuterium to hydrogen (D/H) in the atmosphere and compare these measurements to the D/H ratio measured by orbiting satellites.
  • The 10th slot will accommodate additional payloads for students from the Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s RockOn Student Workshop.

Iowa State University and the University of the Virgin Islands will fly on HASP for the first time.

For more information about the Wallop’s Balloon program office, visit

NASA seeks student experiments for balloon flight to the edge of space

Provided by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

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