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You Are Cordially Invited to our 50th Launch

The Maryland Space Grant Consortium Balloon Payload Team will be launching payloads designed and built by students from the University of Maryland College Park and Capitol Technology University on a large helium-filled weather balloon that will ascend to the upper reaches of the atmosphere.

This is the 50th tracked launch of the program since it started in 2003, and we invite you to be part of the celebration of this milestone!

Join Us! Balloon Launch Details



Saturday, October 10th, 2015
(Rain Date: Sunday, 10/11/15)
730am to 930am



Claud E. Kitchens Outdoor School at Fairview
12808 Draper Road
Clear Spring, Maryland 21722


Preliminary Agenda:

730am: Light Breakfast Refreshments
8am: Announcements and Presentations
9am: Release of Balloon and Payloads


Please follow this link to let us know if you can attend our event.

Payload Descriptions

Command Module

The CMD, or Command Module, is the main tracking and telemetry system for the Balloon Payload Program. For this launch, it has been redesigned into its fifth version, improving and enhancing all of the three major payload subsystems: electronics, structure, and power. 

Host Payload for B.A.D.A.S.S.

Host payload is a testbed for the use of advanced materials and manufacturing processes in payload construction, provides high resolution video throughout the flight, and is also testing a new generation of electronics called Balloonduino. Host payload will be the first payload of the Balloon Attitude Determination and Stabilization System, slated to fly next semester and provide stabilization during the rigorous motion of balloon flight.

Bach’s Box Weather Payload

Bach's Optic Box can sense temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, UV intensity, and dust in the air. The box will be measuring ozone as it rises. The goal is to correlate changes in UV intensity and dust in the atmosphere as it enters the strastophere. It will also be experimenting with a GoPro which will take stills instead of a video.


WhiteBox is housing some experimental technologies for the Balloon Payload Program. In their second flight, 900 MHz radios are being tested for their data transmission capabilities of images. One radio band will be sending periodic images during flight and the other will send XBee and telemetry data, similarly to their initial flight. Data will be received on the ground at our tracking stations in the chase vans for further analysis.

SPECTREv.4 Solar Cell Module

The latest in the SPECTRE series, v.4 features a 3D-printed chassis with 8 solar panels. The objective of this flight is to determine the in-flight recharge capabilities of these lightweight solar panels. Past flights have studied the voltage outputs of these solar panels with respect to altitude, yielding encouraging results. This version will begin testing the end-goal of SPECTRE: increasing battery life while reducing payload weight.

TrapSat from Capitol Tech University

This payload is a prototype of a Cubesat that uses a block of silica aerogel to capture microdebris in orbit.   It is also testing an innovative hinged, Nichrome-activated lid which will protect the aerogel until the lid is opened after reaching the desired altitude.


Contact Dr. Mary Bowden

Email: bowden@umd.edu

Phone: (301) 275-7723

Live Updates

You can follow our live tweetup of the launch day here.

You can also track us on the aprs website using UMD's callsign: W3EAX-9.