Welcome to the Balloon Payload Program! (BPP for short) We fly high altitude balloons with payloads attached to collect scientific data or test out engineering concepts. Our balloons routinely travel to altitudes greater than 100,000 feet. We conduct an average of three to four launches a semester to test these payloads. We have also flown payloads for UMD HAPL (High-Speed Aerodynamics and Propulsion Laboratory) as well as a variety of outreach projects with different schools and student groups.
We always have work to do on our current payloads. Whether you are interested in mechanical design and assembly, software, electronics or launch operations there is something new to do or learn.
Projects have included tracking systems, atmospheric sensing, live video streaming, in flight power collection, deployable heat shields, attitude control and many more.
Balloons carry around 10 pounds of payloads. A typical flight ascends slowly to a burst altitude around 100,000 ft which provides a horizon distance of more than 350 miles. Winds vary from a few to more than 100 mph. A total flight typically lasts around 2.5 hours although work to extend that is underway.
Our program loves new members! Willing to learn? We're willing to teach! We're all very friendly so don't be afraid to reach out!