Mid Atlantic Ham Radio Balloon Race


Joanne, KM6BWB, is a science coach at the Wiseburn Unified School District in Los Angeles, California where she leads her students in several balloon launch attempts from the Los Angeles area each year.

With this year different because of the pandemic, Joanne wanted to “shake
things up a bit” and give students, world-wide, a unique distance learning treat while keeping all safe during the pandemic. So Joanne challenged Ted Tagami, KK6UUQ, from Magnitude.io to a mid-altitude cross-continent balloon race and Ted accepted the challenge!

Ted plans to launch his balloon from Oakland, California.
ISS Above inventor, Liam Kennedy, KN6EQU, from Pasadena, California, got “wind” of the idea and he asked to participate, too. All three organizations: ARISS, Magnitude.io and ISS Above are ISS National Lab Space
Station Explorer (SSE) partners that work to inspire,
engage, and educate students in Science Technology
Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) topics and to
pursue STEAM careers.

The three SSE teams plan to launch their balloons simultaneously on June 1st. The winner will be the first one to cross the “Finish Line” — the Eastern Time zone.

Launch time is planned for 15:00 UTC/11:00 EDT/10:00 CDT/9:00 MDT/8:00PDT. A live video feed of the launch is planned to start approximately 5 minutes prior to the event.

Once the balloons are airborne, students can track each balloon’s location, altitude, and temperature via amateur radio APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) which is fed automatically to the aprs.fi web site.

For more information on the balloon launch, lesson plans, and the livestream video link (when the livestream URL is available), please go to: https://www.ariss.org/mid-altitude-balloon-race.html