Wednesday April 23, 2014

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Students launch high altitude balloon at Elkhorn Resort

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Jake Fehr, Neepawa Press

Countdown to Launch
Ensuring their balloon remains off the ground to avoid possible rupture on sharp objects during inflation, Shaftesbury High School students under the guidance of science instructors carefully feed helium into a high altitude balloon (HAB) prior to launching SHARP 2 into the atmosphere from the scenic grounds of the Elkhorn Resort golf course in Riding Mountain National Park on the frosty morning of Friday, Oct. 28. With a payload of scientific experiments, camera equipment, GPS and homing beacon aboard, the HAB rose to over 120,000 feet before bursting, its parachute carrying it to a farmer's field near MacGregor for a successful mission and payload recovery.

With the goal of exceeding the altitude of SHARP 1, the HAB also carried with it a payload of scientific experiments this time. Swiftly climbing out of sight after launch, the HAB drifted with the northwest wind in a southeasterly direction, climbing to over 120,000 feet before bursting near Gladstone some three hours later. Its parachute then opened and carried it some miles further, the payload of electronics and experiments being successfully recovered from a farmer's field near MacGregor. With the potential for many things to go wrong which could have jeopardized the mission, one of the greatest concerns was that shifting winds might carry the SHARP 2 into Lake Manitoba; thankfully, the weather cooperated.


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