25 May 2021

Weather Balloon Launch

On May 18 the Upper Sixth HL physicists finished their course and launched a weather balloon from Duke's Meadow into the stratosphere.

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Since the Easter holiday, the Upper Sixth HL physicists have been working towards releasing a weather balloon. They planned all sorts of different experiments and carried them out in the labs. All of their decisions and discoveries went towards the final design of the balloon, parachute and payload.

On May 18 they finished their enrichment course and launched the balloon from Duke’s Meadow into the stratosphere. The flight lasted almost exactly two hours, up to an altitude of approximately 23,000 m (over twice the level that planes fly). The low pressure at that height would have caused the 1m weather balloon to expand beyond the size of a minibus before bursting and falling back to Earth. It passed through outside temperatures of -50oC but after the Upper Sixth research and investigations the box rremained above 0oC the whole time. The students collected a good amount of data using the onboard Arduino which they had coded and the group were able to record altitude, temperature, air pressure, magnetic field and velocity throughout.

It landed in some woods near Tyler Hill, just north of Canterbury. This is 45 miles by road from Sevenoaks (38 miles as the crow flies). The balloon was retrieved and brought back to school.

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