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DePauw-Launched Balloon Reaches 8th Highest Altitude Ever

August 9, 2011

100341August 9, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — It's one for the record books for DePauw University's Balloon Assisted Stratospheric Experiments (BASE) program, which brings together students from the university and nearby K-12 schools to design and build experiments with helium weather balloons. Saturday's flight, the 67th in the program's history, took place in Rantoul, Illinois. A helium-filled balloon carried an assortment of radios and meteorological sensors into the stratosphere and climbed to a height of 125,200 feet before the balloon burst.

The launch took place in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 scouts and adult volunteers at Space Jam 5.

"This is the eighth highest altitude ever achieved by a latex balloon, and exceeded the previous record in the BASE program by more than 20,000 feet," according to Howard L. Brooks, Paul B. Kissinger Professor of Physics and Astronomy at DePauw and chair of his department, who oversees the BASE program. He notes, "Although the balloon made a track above the earth’s surface that was 70 miles long, the distance between the launch and landing points was only 4.4 miles. This is fourth shortest distance ever for a stratospheric balloon flight. No single flight has ever made the record books for both maximum height and shortest distance."100342

BASE 67 was the eleventh and final flight of a summer season that included ten flights for the Science Research Fellows program investigating electromagnetic showers in lead. Researchers from Purdue University added experiments to the flight string on two occasions and students from Cloverdale High School participated on one flight through the Bridge 2 Science program.

BASE 68 is scheduled for October 8, 2011. Launch will be from the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis as part of Celebrate Science Indiana.

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