With the guidance of instructors Richard Piccioni and Craig Butz, high school students from The Bay School of San Francisco launched a 2.3 meter (8 ft) helium balloon equipped with a video camera,
Vernier Temperature and Gas Pressure Sensors, and Vernier LabPro into the atmosphere.
The flight lasted 1 hour and 22 minutes, reaching an altitude of 75,000 feet, or at a level above 95% of the Earth’s atmosphere by mass, before the balloon burst. Two temperature probes were used: one inside a box used to insulate the data collection equipment and one outside. The interior temperature stayed relatively constant, whereas the exterior temperature decreased to –47°C.
The balloon apparatus used the APRS (Automated Packet Reporting System) to track location, and had at least six satellite signals at all times. The noise on the pressure graph is assumed to be from the periodic transmissions from the APRS. To ensure a safe landing and retrieval of the equipment, a 5-foot diameter parachute was used on descent. For more information, including a great movie about the project, visit http://ikaros.xrg.us