04/12/11 — New Bern homeschool group looking for balloon

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New Bern homeschool group looking for balloon

By From staff reports
Published in News on April 12, 2011 1:46 PM

A group of students from the Riverbend Baptist Homeschool co-op are looking for help from people in Wayne County. The New Bern area students launched a weather balloon this past Thursday into near space as part of a science project designed to photograph the curvature of the earth.

The students paid for the component parts of the balloon themselves, and with the help of the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration offices in Newport, learned about the changing weather conditions in the upper atmosphere. The students also worked with the Federal Aviation Administration on how to properly launch such a balloon.

However, while the launch was successful, the onboard tracking devices malfunctioned, leaving the students unable to find the balloon. It is believed the balloon reached its intended height of about 90,000 feet, upon which time the balloon would have burst and attached parachute would have guided it down.

According to possible trajectories worked out by the students, it is believed that the balloon likely landed sometime Sunday in the Rocky Mount, Wilson, Goldsboro and Kinston areas.

What people are likely to see is a cooler covered in reflectors, orange tape and signs, which include the phone numbers of the students, as well as a highly reflective radar reflector, both suspended under a 5-foot red and blue parachute, with the remains of the balloon still attached.

If recovered or if anybody has any information about, they are asked to call (252) 548-9273. The students hope to recover as much of the equipment as possible and try the experiment again.