February 26, 2004

Contact: Jill Hummels, School of Engineering, (785) 864-2934.

KU Engineering plans high-tech weather balloon launch Saturday as part of expo

LAWRENCE -- University of Kansas engineering students and faculty will launch a High Altitude Balloon System (HABS) Saturday morning as part of KU's Engineering Expo.

The scheduled launch window is between 9:15 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, on the KU School of Engineering lawn along 15th Street on the main Lawrence campus.

The National Weather Service office in Topeka predicts partly cloudy skies Saturday, with lows in the lower 40s and highs in the upper 50s. The public is welcome to attend all Engineering Expo events, including the HABS launch. There is no charge.

The balloon's payload will be an instrument box (balloonsat) that contains instrumentation, a camera, GPS receiver and a transmitter/receiver to communicate with a ground station set up in Eaton Hall. The station will show the GPS location of the balloon on a map so it can be tracked in real time, said David Tenny, an aerospace engineering senior from Leawood, who is in charge of ground operations for the event. There also will be multiple vehicles chasing the balloon during its flight.

The system is designed to fly to the near-space conditions at 100,000 feet altitude, but for this flight the research team will release the balloon at roughly 10,000 feet, after which the balloons at will float to the ground on a parachute, said Trevor Sorensen, associate professor of aerospace engineering and leader of a project to put a satellite from Kansas into space.

Engineering Expo

Friday, Feb. 27, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
 • 9:30 a.m.: Keynote address at the Lied Center of Kansas
 • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Exhibits and displays open at Eaton Hall and Learned Hall.

Saturday, Feb. 28, 9 a.m. to noon
 • Exhibits and displays open at Eaton Hall and Learned Hall
 • 9:15 a.m. to 10 a.m.: High Altitude Balloon System Launch, KU Engineering complex lawn, 15th Street, Lawrence campus. --30--


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