Weather Balloon by M.Gokcek

Space Exploration has been sought after by many countries around the world for the past few decades. This drove me to try to explore this same way, but on a much smaller scale. The main purpose of my project is to send an unmanned high altitude balloon into near space and have it return with data about nearby weather conditions. For the launch and to collect data, a payload box is necessary. The payload box contains the cameras that we are using to record the area, take pictures, and collect data.  When the balloon reaches 100,000 ft it will pop and will free fall. There are tracking systems in place with the balloon that will allow us to know the exact location of the landing. Since all the equipment is insulated, there should be no harm done and all of the data should be able to be recovered and presented. 

Here are some videos from past launches

Harmony Near Space Project
Weather balloons are the most common type of high altitude balloon, usually used to send payloads into the upper atmosphere. The purpose of this project is to successfully send an unmanned weather balloon into near space and capture videos and images of nearby weather conditions without professional equipment. 

Research Questions 
  • What are high altitude balloons?
  • What is the science behind high altitude balloons?
  • How would the use of high altitude balloons benefit an experiment or demonstration? 
If high altitude balloons are used in an experiment, then more variants on perspective and data would be available.

Independent Variable(s)
  • the height at which the balloon will be flying at
Dependent Variable(s)
  • the internal pressure of the balloon
  • the surface area of the balloon
No Control Variable 

    • Bluewave Antenna (890-960 MHz)
    • 2 Handheld GPS
    • Latex Meteorological Balloon 600 g
    • 1 Parachute
    • 1 Payload Box with 3 Cameras Attached
    • 2 Harness
    • Tank of Helium
    • GPS Navigator
    • Styrofoam Box to Enclose GPS
    • Electrical tape
    • Hose
    • Tarp   
*Make sure to cover the surface you are working with a tarp and to wear gloves, as any foreign contact to the balloon can cause a premature burst, which will tamper with the results.
  1. Check the weather conditions in the areas in which the balloon will go through and note any restrictions in your area. For example, neighboring El Paso is Juarez and Fort Bliss, which are restricted zones.

  2. Alert the FAA 24 hours before the launch, since the equipment weigh more than 4 pounds.

  3. Gather all materials and begin outdoors in an open environment, set up the tarp to lay out all of the equipment and put on safety equipment.

  4. Lay the balloon flat on the tarp and put the hose that connects from the helium tank in the balloon and begin to wrap electrical tape around the opening. While taping down the opening, attach the parachute chords and tape it down.

  5. Slowly open up the helium tank to inflate the balloon.

  6. While the balloon is being inflated, take the parachute ties from the previous step and hook them onto the top of the parachute where there is an opening.

  7. At the skirt of the parachute there should be strings going down to connect together at a wooden ring, after the wooden ring all of the string should be collected together and tied in a loop so they don't interfere with the actual launch.

  8. Attach a chord to a GPS to secure it through the loop. This will be used to track the balloon from the antenna.

  9. At the bottom of the GPS there should be an attachment so the chords can be hooked onto it. Latch he chords onto the hooks. These chords will be used to connect to a harness that encloses a payload box. 
  10. The payload box is a Styrofoam box that encloses any materials that are needed for the trip, for example in this project, there are three cameras and backup batteries. Secure any materials that could be necessary to bring for the launch. 
  11. At the bottom of the harness there should be a connection so a chord be attached to a harness that holds on to a Styrofoam box that encases GPS trackers that sends information back to the ground. 
  12. At this point, the balloon should be filled, so begin to lift the balloon up, first by grabbing from the chords and then moving down  towards he parachute then the payload box at the end. 
  13. release he balloon and begin tracking it by plugging in the antenna into the computer and open a program called ___________ . his will rack he balloon rough he GPS and will allow us o know he locaion of he balloon and he predicions o where i would go. 

Background Research
The Conditions
        The weather balloon can go up to 100,000 feet from the ground, which is around 30.5 km (18.9 mi). That would be in the stratosphere, the second layer of the atmosphere; also, this would be in the middle of the ozone layer. For every 10 million air molecules, there are only 3 ozone molecules. Although this is an outrageous ratio, ozone is very important to life on earth. 

         Stratospheric Ozone is formed by the reaction of ultraviolet radiation and oxygen molecules, making it naturally occurring.  This forms our ozone, which keeps us safe from the harmful ultraviolet rays from our sun.  Around 90% of our ozone is in the stratosphere, with only the remaining 10% in the troposphere. As altitude raises, the temperature and air pressure drop. In the stratosphere, the highest temperature will be around 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). 

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

YouTube Video