25.09.2017 change 25.09.2017

Wrocław students have sent a portable laboratory on a balloon flight

Source: Student Science Club PWR Aerospace Source: Student Science Club PWR Aerospace

Students from Wroclaw have sent a balloon with a set of sensors measuring such parameters as altitude, pressure and UV radiation levels to the stratosphere. After this success, they are working on a balloon with a module that streams live images from the camera.

The successful flight took place in late August. One of the creators of the balloon, Michał Kosecki told PAP that the flight lasted 2 hours 20 minutes and ended with a balloon rupture at an altitude of 27 km. After the balloon ruptured, a parachute was automatically opened to allow the gondola with all the equipment to be safely brought down to the ground.

"The stratospheric balloon built by our club has collected a variety of data such as temperature, pressure, wind velocity at different altitudes" - told PAP Michał Kosecki from PWR Aerospace. "We also equipped the balloon with UV, visible light and infrared sensors. We registered the entire flight using small cameras we received from a company that supports us".

The measurements made during the flight allowed the students to learn about the conditions at various altitudes and how they affected the onboard electronic devices, as well as check the insulation of the entire system at an altitude where temperatures can drop to minus 60 degrees Celsius.

This was not the first flight of a balloon built by Wrocław students. "The first Orion mission took off in April" - Kosecki recalled. "Unfortunately, it was not a complete success, but we learned a lot from it. It was a valuable lesson".

In the future, students from Wroclaw University of Technology plan even more ambitious projects, including a balloon flight in winter, and one that will register sunset and sunrise. The latter is quite a challenge - in this case it is necessary to establish cooperation with students from another country, who would take over the balloon after the flight. "This is important because during several hours of flight, a balloon can travel vast distances, even thousands of kilometres" - explained Kosecki.

The main purpose of the Orion mission - of which the August flight was a part - was to prepare for further projects of the club. "We are currently working on a module that will broadcast live images from a camera located in a balloon gondola. We especially like the idea because it gives our team a lot of experience and practice that will be useful in the future, more demanding rocket projects. In addition, a live image module operating at high altitude could be used for other purposes, such as rescue missions during various cataclysms".

The main goal of PWR Aerospace is the construction of rockets. For now, Wrocław students gain the necessary experience through balloon missions.

"In the future we want to deal with rockets - their construction and improvement, reaching higher altitudes - but before those really big projects we want to learn the basics during less complicated projects such as balloon flights" - explained Michał Kosecki. "Our flights served their purpose: we could learn what to do and what to avoid, so that the missions would be successful".

PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland, Katarzyna Florencka

kflo/ agt/ kap/

tr. RL

Copyright © Foundation PAP 2018