5th Annual Academic High Altitude Conference

The 5th Annual Academic High Altitude Conference will be held at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND, from June 23-27, 2014. This conference is open to students, K-12 educators, professors, researchers, and vendors who are interested or involved in projects related to High Altitude Ballooning. This year’s conference tracks include: research, educational opportunities, and technical developments in ballooning.
More information on this conference can be found here: http://www.stratoballooning.org/conference

This year’s conference will present talks that focus on:

  • Executing high altitude research projects
  • Developing operational capabilities for high altitude balloon flights
  • Creating educational opportunities incorporating high altitude balloon flights

In addition to faculty and students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, education faculty are strongly encouraged to attend this year’s conference as well.

History of the AHAC

Since 2008, Taylor University and StratoStar Systems have hosted High-Altitude Balloon Workshops for professors through funding provided by a National Science Foundation grant. During these workshops, professors learned how to start their own balloon program using the High-Altitude Research Platform (HARP) and incorporate the balloon into the classroom.

In 2010, Taylor University created the Academic High-Altitude Conference (AHAC) in response to the desire of many of those participants to collaborate with other institutions and advance their programs. The Academic High-Altitude Conference is dedicated to the use of high-altitude platforms to advance STEM education and research. It is committed to fostering the exchange of ideas, discussing best practices and advancing the use of near-space to inspire students.

Call for Papers, 2014

The committee for the 5th Annual Academic High Altitude Conference is proud to announce a call for papers for this year’s conference, June 25-27th. Paper submissions are requested from professionals, faculty, staff and students that are involved in high-altitude ballooning in their respective programs. This year the conference will focus on the topics provided below. Authors are encouraged to submit papers for projects at all stages of development. All abstracts must be submitted on or before March 15, 2014. Full papers must be submitted by May 30th in order to be presented at the conference. Students who submit abstracts can also apply for travel funding. You may download the call for papers here.

2014 Conference Topics

Research in High-Altitude Ballooning
  • Meteorology and atmospheric science
  • Physics and space science
  • Environmental science and remote sensing
  • Chemistry and biology
  • Collaborative and cross-disciplinary projects
Educational Opportunities in High-Altitude Ballooning
  • Balloon flights in K-12 STEM education
  • Balloon flights in core undergraduate courses
  • Balloon flights in advanced lab courses
  • Collaborations between the university and the public through balloon flights
Technical Development in High Altitude Ballooning
  • Launch systems and prediction tools
  • Data logging and communications systems
  • Real-time and programmable control systems
  • Flight stability and return systems
  • Tracking and recovery
  • Engineering special mission requirements
For questions or more information, contact AHAC Coordinator Anne Longlet at anne.l…@gmail.com . Early registration and abstract submission ends on March 15th, so please respond as promptly as possible.
Best regards
Ronald Fevig, Ph.D.
Graduate Program Director/Professor
University of North Dakota
Space Studies Department

2014 CANSAT winners announced

The winners and runner-up of the UK school CANSAT competition, organised by the National STEM centre in York university campus, have been announced after last weeks competition. Balloon News will be launching the runner up CANSAT, made by Bearsden Academy in Scotland,  on a balloon flight at the 2014 Balloon Fiesta

SPOT LLC App – about time too!

SPOT App https://itunes.apple.com/app/the-spot-app/id787229677?mt=8   FREE

SPOT LLC have finally got round to releasing a free app to partner it’s successful PLB which many HABists use to track their payload.

spot app


The SPOT app has all the basic functionality of other pay apps, with a basic map or satellite image to view track locations. While the SPOT app does let you zoom in closer on this map, the track points are not linked in order so it is a lot harder to visualise the track the payload has taken.

The SPOT app is also superior to Trail share and SPOT Buddy with respect to the log in function. With the SPOT app you simply need to input your account user name and passport. For this the app collects all the necessary data to display the tracks from all your SPOT devices. On the pay apps, you have to manually input your SPOT shared page which, on a smart phone, can be tricky.

Other handy features of the SPOT app includes the main screen short cut to the most recent position. There is also a filter function to enable you to pull back old satellite tracks beyond the normal 5/7 day period. This will come in most handy when you have safely recovered your payload and are bragging to your mates about the great flight you had.In fact the app can pull tracks from up to 30 days from the date they were recorded.


On balance this app is as good, if not slightly better than the pay apps. SPOT need to sort out a way to visually show the sequence of track points and enable the differentiation of tracks from different devices.