In high altitude ballooning, we often fly Latex balloons that will achieve a set altitude, then burst, and then return to the ground. These types of flights still allow us to do quite a bit of research and testing, but it is often desired to spend additional time at high altitude. One method is to use zero-pressure or super-pressure balloons, but these balloons are often 5-10 times more expensive then the Latex balloons. Another option is to allow the helium in the Latex balloon to vent which gives us additional time. This is the option that we will explore. This will require building a valve that can be controlled with an on board computer to determine when to vent and also the design of a termination system so we can return to the ground when needed.
Students will work with existing HABET (High Altitude Balloon Experiments in Technology) students to design, build and test a valve system that can be used to vent helium and keep the spacecraft at a set altitude for a period of time. Students will also design a method to terminate the flight on command. Students will need to program the on board computer to determine when to vent and to handle the commands to terminate the flight either via command and preset conditions.
Students should have at least some experience with a CAD program (Solidworks is ideal) and doing a CAD design. An understanding of basic physics is required. Students should have some programming experience (C and/or Python).
Project Mentor: Professor Matthew Nelson