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Balloon Team sends two balloons up in the stratosphere

The Purdue University High Altitude Balloon Team sent two balloons up in the stratosphere for a global competition, Saturday.

Posted: Apr. 21, 2018 4:34 PM
Updated: Apr. 23, 2018 9:09 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WFLI) — The Purdue University High Altitude Balloon Team sent two balloons up in the stratosphere for a global competition, Saturday.

Sending a balloon thousands of feet in the air may seem thoughtless, but Tyler Mahlmann said a lot has to happen before it's ready to go up up and away.


"Get in touch with the local airports, notify the FAA that you intend to launch a balloon into airspace and they give you a dedicated launch window," Mahlmann said. 

The Purdue University High Altitude Balloon Team has been preparing for this launch for quite some time. It is all part of a competition called the Global Space Balloon Challenge.

So how is a balloon launch judged?

"Either the highest altitude or the best picture," said Florian Gutensohn. 

Florian Gutensohn puts it simply.

"The lighter one and then we launched our second balloon which had the 360 camera so that means when we get that footage back when we recover the balloon we are going to be able to have a 360 view of the entire flight up into the stratosphere," said Gutensohn. 

Although making sure all of the pieces were in place isn't all that simple. It took careful planning and a lot of teamwork.

But the real fun is in the recovery.

"It may land in a tree, it may land just land in the field, it may land on a road," Gutensohn. 

Each balloon has a GPS tracker attached and while where the balloon lands is out Gutensohn's control, he's glad he made the decision to land here.

"Doing well in college, doing well in school is obviously important but this will give you the connections and the experience you need in order to get into the industry," Gutensohn.

One of the balloons landed in Anderson, Indiana. Team members said it reached a maximum altitude of 121,389 feet. 

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