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Project ASCEND is a near-space research project where participants launch payloads attached to a weather balloon.  The payloads rise up to the edge of the atmosphere, around 100,000 feet MSL, where the balloon pops and the payloads descend via parachute back to Earth.  On the way up and down, the payloads can record data such as air temperature, humidity, UV light intensity, and radiation levels.  A GPS transceiver and beacon allow for the tracking and retrieval of the payloads. 

Spring 2018 Launch

Fall 2017 Launch (18 November 2017)

This is the interior of our payload.  The shell is carbon fiber with foam along the interior to provide a cushion upon landing and for insulation.  Two sets (connected in parallel) of six AA lithium batteries provide power to the two Arduino systems (only one pictured here).  There is a FLIR (forward-looking infrared) camera that points toward the Earth and it runs off a separate battery pack.
This is the second Arduino system.  It is attached to the lid of payload. Attached to the Arduino board is the PCB shield I designed
This is the front and back of the PCB shield I designed for one of the Arduinos.
Exterior of the payload.  And HD camera was zip-tied in the foreground.  The white device in the left is a temperature and humidity sensor.  To the rear is an IR sensor.
This is the underside of our payload.  The openings for the FLIR camera can be seen here along with another IR sensor.
Here are the two key-operated on/off switches.  A future design will have an LED for each to verify the power is on.
This the flightpath of our payload provided by ANSR.org (Arizona Near Space Research).
Here is the payload where it was found in the desert after its thre-hour trip to the edge of space and back.  Photograph by Theodore Oberg of ANSR.