Aerospace Interns Launch Into the Stratosphere with Project GHe

The team prepares to send a balloon aloft in the Mojave Desert. (Photo: The Aerospace Corporation)

Aerospace recently launched two high-altitude balloons in the Mojave Desert to test the suitability of commercially available humidity, temperature, and pressure sensors for weather measurements in the upper atmosphere.

Project GHe (gaseous helium), led by iLab interns Eddie Esquivel and Payton Boliek, was a success, with the balloon flights reaching altitudes of 81,073 and 109,106 ft. respectively. The team launched the balloons in the early hours of the morning and then pursued the recovery of the payloads close to 90 miles away from the launch point.

Aerospace has a long history of studying the interface between the atmosphere and space. Knowledge of this interface is critical to understanding satellite drag, radio frequency signal propagation, and numerous other space system performance parameters. Data collected by these in situ sensors will be compared with the capabilities of current remote sensing systems for this type of weather information in the upper atmosphere.

Project GHe went from concept to design and finally launch in 10 weeks. The team also developed a collaborative sensing experiment to collect images of illuminated targets near the launch point.