College of Engineering

UMaine-assisted balloon launch

The Lincoln County News covered the May 24th launch of a high-altitude balloon carrying experiments of students at Jefferson Village School and Bristol Consolidated School.

The launch was part of the Maine Space Grant Consortium’s Maine Student High Altitude Platform Program, designed to increase student interest in STEM. Richard Eason, a University of Maine associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, assisted with the launch with colleague Andy Sheaff and undergraduate students Derek Haas and Cameron Sullivan, according to the paper.

Eason said the balloon rises about 1,000 feet per minute and can reach an altitude of 120,000 feet. A GPS in one of the balloon’s payload boxes allows the balloon to be tracked. “This is our 66th balloon launch and we haven’t lost a payload,” Eason said. “The prediction is it will end up near Ellsworth.” Eason said when the balloon pops, the payload returns to Earth with the aid of a parachute.