Reaching new heights



reaching new heights
The weather balloon’s view from 102,470 feet. PhotoCo: B. Macarthur

  The HR meteorology class had a personal record beating weather balloon launch on Saturday, September 21st which hit incredible heights.  This is the extra credit opportunity given by Mr. MacArthur, meteorology teacher, is a lot different than any other. The Falcons’ balloon soared up to 102,470 feet (19.4 miles) into the the earth’s stratosphere, crushing the last launch that was 49,800 feet. The students also added  on some school spirit by attaching a toy falcon to the balloon.

  It sounds easy to just launch a balloon, but it actually involved of of prep work and money. “The students had to pitch in to buy the balloon and the helium, which is hard to get,” according to MacArthur. The class also has to call air control and let them know the latitude and longitude and how long the weather balloon launch will last to make sure it doesn’t intrude on air space. Once the balloon pops in the air, over 100,000 feet up, a parachute deploys and the ballons back to the ground.

  The meteorology class launched from Red Rocks and it landed 15 miles away from Parker. “This was the greatest thing I have been a part of involved with our school,” said Evan Andrestos, senior meteorology student. Out of the two launches, the current record doubled the last height measurement but they both still got data the class can use. The students apply this to the class by collecting the data from each launch and will help them determine and understand the weather in Colorado. “The more launches we do, the more we will understand our weather patterns,” said MacArthur.

 The class is currently prepping for another launch to try to beat their current record. “I would love to see this next balloon get up to 130,000 feet,” said MacArthur.

Michael Guglielmi, Staff Reporter