Every semester USI Engineering students conduct a High Altitude Balloon flight as part of the ENGR 471, Engineering Design and Analysis, class. For the spring semester they are joined by students in ENGR 290, High Altitude Ballooning, for this effort.
The High Altitude Balloon consists of a helium filled weather balloon carrying small pods which hold experimental devices, cameras and GPS trackers. The balloon typically ascends to 100,000 feet, where it bursts, after which the pods begin a chaotic descent earthward eventually slowed by a parachute for landing.
Students prepare the pods and plan flight operations as part of their class activities. On the day of the flight students launch the balloon and pods from southern Illinois, track them using GPS signals during a two and a half hour chase into southern Indiana, and then recover the pods for later analysis.
Details about past and upcoming USI High Altitude Balloon flights can be found at this website.