The third annual weather balloon launch, funded by the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools, took place at Smith STEM School on June 6.
By Gillian Hixson
Despite the cloud-covered sky and promise of rain, Smith STEM School launched a weather balloon from the school’s roof early on Tuesday morning.
The balloon, expected to travel into the stratosphere, carried GPS equipment, a GoPro, and “Paul the Military Pilot,” a LEGO minifigure the students voted to include.
This launch is the third for the West Hartford elementary school, with the first being in the fall of 2014, Katherine Hardesty, QuEST teacher at Smith STEM, explained.
Using the GPS, the balloon is tracked and then retrieved, along with the data and footage the balloon captured on the GoPro.
The project is funded by a “Teaching on the Edge” grant from the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools, with the goal of assisting all students as they learn about the atmosphere. The balloon was supposed to travel up to 20 miles high into the stratosphere and explode and parachute to the ground after about 90 minutes.
Unfortunately, the GPS equipment for this year’s weather balloon has stopped working, according to Hardesty. Therefore, the location of the balloon and the footage it has taken is unknown at this time.
Though this year’s launch and retrieval has not been the most successful, Hardesty said she hopes to do another launch in September.
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