Carrollton looking forward to retrying balloon launch

By Ryne Turke on April 16 at 1:45pm

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History was set to be made in Carrollton this morning, but Mother Nature had different plans.

Students and facility members gathered outside Carrollton High School to witness Carrollton’s first-ever space launch. Unfortunately, the mission never got a chance to succeed as high gusting winds pushed the launch capsule straight into nearby trees, destroying the balloon.

Carrollton math and engineering teacher Pat Dugas has assisted with the project from Day One and says everything was going to plan until the winds started to pick up. He explains the equipment on the capsule.

“The weather balloon was designed to go over 100,000 feet in altitude and qualifies as near space,” says Dugas.

“We have a video camera that takes high resolution video as it goes up in the air. We also have a parachute after it reaches it’s altitude and begins to go down.”

A temperature sensor on board would have collected data which could be used for research in math and science classes. Software traveling with the capsule estimated the balloon would have landed around Taylorville.

Even though the launch wasn’t a success, Dugas is extremely proud of his students for coming up with this creative project.

“The greatest thing about this is our students completely came up with idea,” says Dugas.

“They have run with whole project and I am very excited for this to work for them.”

Local firefighters assisted in getting the capsule out of the trees.  The capsule equipment was still intact and is prepared for the relaunch scheduled in two weeks.

The balloon project was led by Carrollton High students Colton Miller, Travis Alexander, Riley Lewis, Nick Robinson and Jacob Lovel. Anyone who is interested in sponsoring or donating future launches can make donations to Carrollton High School to the balloon project.