We’re looking forward to The School‘s second annual High Altitude Weather Balloon Launch on April 18th with the Global Space Balloon Challenge. Thankfully, a brilliant parent and member of our community, Jeff Tarr (@jeffisfast) is willing to help us again this year to elevate our understanding and capabilities with this project.
I’m currently at a planning meeting with Jeff and The School’s 6th grade science teacher, Ben Raikes (@benedickraikes), to work out the shopping list and duties for all involved. It takes a village (and a tank of helium)…
screenshot by Amy Eguchi
Jeff Tarr (@JeffIsFast) is an inventor/entrepreneur/maker/tinkerer/programmer with a (thankfully) vested interest in sharing his talents and ideas with teachers and students at The School at Columbia University. He approached Ben Raikes (@benedickraikes), 6th grade Science teacher, and me in early October about participating in the Global Space Balloon Challenge to launch a High Altitide Balloon (HAB).
The timing was awesome, as I’d seen a recent message from Laura Blankenship (@lblanken) in which she shared a video and blurb about her students’ participation in the challenge at The Baldwin School:
The Baldwin School partnered with Lancaster Country Day School for the launch of the space balloon and items from a kit Baldwin won in the spring. The kit had items like a GoPro camera, a GPS tracker and a flight computer to gather data like altitude, temperature, pressure and wind speed.
Jeff worked tirelessly (independently and collaboratively) to advocate for the project, organize a plan, propose a budget, program sensors, choose a launch point, and set up a GPS tracker to chart the path of the balloon! People could follow via The SPOT App on an iOS device or via the web using his link and a password!
Here’s a link to the Eagle Pro Weather Balloon Kit we purchased from High Altitude Science: https://www.highaltitudescience.com/products/eagle-pro-near-space-kit
Other educators were equally excited and supportive of the project including Amy Eguchi who shared the map photo (at the top of this post) with a message explaining that the image “shows how it has travelled. You can see the gap which is when the ballon was above 60,000m. Pretty cool :)”
It was so rewarding to read Ben’s email to faculty which included two awesome still photos from the GoPro camera attached to the frame!
Yesterday we launched a helium balloon from Black Rock. It went to 104,000 ft! We have video footage from a GoPro that was strapped onto the rig. Here are a few screen grabs until we can produce a little film..
Buzz I mean Ben
ps Those pieces are bits of the balloon that has just burst. And that’s our parachute… It landed in a back yard in Williamsburg MA.
I was kept in the loop throughout the process and, though I missed the actual balloon launch, I cheered from afar. Below are a couple of tweets I saw from the trip to Black Rock Forest on the day of the event:
Andrew and Jeff shared the following presentation with our students:
Note: Andrew and Jeff legitimately impressed the kids with an assortment of examples of their technical prowess. Here were two that the students particularly enjoyed:
Jeff shared a toilet he rigged with a Raspberry Pi, distance sensors, and motors to lift the lid for everyone and the seat for some. See his video below:
Andrew shared his interactive Christmas tree that allows anyone in the world to turn the lights on and off via an app living on a web page. The live video feed is here and a video explaining the project is below: