Welcome to the University of California San Diego near-space balloon team website. Here you can find information about near-space ballooning, our previous launches, our upcoming launches, and some helpful inks. Our mission is to inspire students to pursue science and engineering in their futures by involving them and their educators in hands-on experiments that venture to the edge of space. We are sponsored by NASA's California Space Grant Consortium, and are grateful for their continued support.
March 3rd, 2017
On Sunday February 12, 2017, a group of UCSD undergraduate students, graduate student Spencer Ellis (KK6PNN), two mentors Phil Karn (KA9Q) and Karl Cain (KC6B) , and Professor John Kosmatka launched a small balloon with the hope of it reaching Europe. The balloon floats at 42,000 feet and has a small solar powered transmitter and GPS that broadcasts it location during day-light hours to HAM radio towers over the APRS network. The call sign is KK6PNN-5. The balloon has circled the globe once and is on its second lap. As of Monday (3/6/2017), it is entering Poland heading towards Russia. It is unknown if there are HAM radio towers in Russia, so it may go quiet for a few days. Track it's progress below courtesy of tracker.habhub.org. You might need to use the (+/-) buttons to zoom in/out or slide your cursor on the map to move around. Pushing the "HYSPLIT" button will provide possible flight paths based upon NOAA wind predictions.
August 13th, 2016:
Today we successfully completed our 19th launch with the UCSD Space Grant Summer Academy students under an amazing display from the Perseid Meteors.
July 31st, 2013:
This is our 14th launch. We launched the sounding balloon with two teams of 6 students who attended the Research Academy.
February 15th, 2013:
We had a special launch with the SWE students, and estimated that the balloon had burst around 95,000 ft. We will update further details shortly.
March 3rd, 2012:
The San Diego Science Festival is coming up this weekend, Saturday the 24th, and the UC San Diego Balloon Team will be there! We'll have plenty of nifty experiments set up to teach you a thing or two about pressure, balloons, and how the whole near space process works.
We will also be taking part in the Home Run Science Challenge!
February 25rd, 2012:
We recently conducted our 10th launch, S09! Results will be posted shortly.
July 18th, 2011:
A new launch is in the workings, planned for the 20th. This time, we will be using a 2000 gram balloon. The heavier the balloon, the higher we can get.
In the news: "UC San Diego Weather Balloon Journeys South of the Border" UC SAN DIEGO'S JACOBS SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
Latest images from our 2010 Summer launch
Would you like to attend a launch?
We are interested in planning near-space balloon launches for local middle and high school teachers, and we are always looking for participants! All launches will occur in the vicinity of Plaster City, California. Launch dates are TBD, and will be selected to best accommodate all interested teachers' schedules. We will help teachers design an experiment to go to near-space, and teachers will be invited to participate in balloon launch and recovery activities. This effort is being sponsored by the California Space Grant Consortium, and is completely free! For more details, please navigate to our outreach launch page.
Please note: you do not need to have a postcard to attend a launch. You may have found one of our postcards (like the one shown above), but this is not required to participate. If you found us some other way, please feel free to contact us about participating. We look forward to hearing from you!