The Global Space Balloon Challenge is an international education outreach project to encourage people from around the world to build and launch their own high altitude balloons. Over a single weekend, teams from all over the world will launch balloons to the edge of space, recover them, and share the photos and data that they have collected.

The organisers, Stanford University, has set a goal to encourage people of all ages to get their hands dirty building their own space hardware, and to promote the spirit of hardware hacking and international STEM collaboration.

Here is some more information from the project, who’s web site can be found at

“There will be three challenge categories this year: highest altitude, best photograph, and best design. These are intended to reward those who go beyond traditional HABs and do something unique and cool- these challenges will be rewarded with awesome prizes like the $500 store credit to Sparkfun, so be sure to start early and send us your challenge entries on time!


We know not everyone is fluent in English. If this is an issue and you would like to participate in these competitions – please let us know.



The name says it all- the team that records the highest altitude will win! To enter this challenge, please send us pictures and the complete GPS data recorded during your balloon flight. The GPS strings must include timestamp, latitude, longitude, and altitude. If you are using APRS, we will also require your call-sign that was used on the flight.



For this challenge, we will use a combination of voting from our panel of industry judges and social media to choose the best photo taken by teams flying balloons for the GSBC. Anyone can enter- pictures at dawn, pointing at specific landmarks, capturing amazing phenomena like the Aurora Borealis, or of one balloon at altitude from another are all examples of awesome things you can capture from a HAB! Use your imagination and fell free to send more than one image!


For this challenge, we will also require a picture and GPS tag at every 10,000 ft of your flight to verify that the photo was taken April 18-20. The GPS strings must include timestamp, latitude, longitude, and altitude. If you are using APRS, we will also require your call-sign that was used on the flight.



This is the challenge for anyone who wants to show off their HAB. This category will take everything into account from launch location to data collected to size of payload and balloon to creativity in the approach and anything else that you can think of. Everyone who wants to compete in this category will be required to submit a 5 page report on their design and approach- include pictures and convince us why you should win! The ability to communicate information is essential to engineering and therefore organization and clarity of the report will also be taken into account.

The reports will be given to a panel of industry judges, including engineers at Google’s Project Loon, who will then decide the winner. No information will be shared beyond judges and the GSBC organizers without the consent of the team.”

The launch date for the challenge is April 18th to 21st – Easter weekend. Balloon News will be entering the event. We have also asked the GSBC what steps they are taking to make sure that groups launch safe HAB flights and what involvement they have sort with local aviation authorities; and will post their answers here.


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