Space Studies, ND Space Grant program will hold 9th annual Near-Space Balloon Challenge Nov. 22 and 23

The ND Space Grant and UND Space Studies will hold the 9th annual Near-Space Balloon Challenge Nov. 22 and 23.

Middle and high school students get real-world experience completing the scientific method while creating STEM experiments that are launched to over 100,000 feet in altitude (over 99 percent of Earth’s atmosphere)! Space Studies graduate students manage all launch operations. The students release their payloads simultaneously on two balloons, and Space Studies students track and recover the payloads, bringing the experiments back to the students for data analysis.

This year, about 100 students from the following towns will take part in the program. To celebrate NASA’s Artemis Missions, all teams will be developing an experiment that highlights NASA’s goals to get America back to the Moon to go to Mars, and the spirit of future human spaceflight.

  • New Town Middle School
  • Garrison High School
  • Shiloh Christian School (Bismarck, ND)
  • Flasher Public School
  • Williston Public School
  • Alexander Public School
  • Kindred High School
  • Maple Valley School (Tower City, ND)
  • Richardton-Taylor Public School (Richardton, ND)

The Near-Space Balloon Challenge is a great state-wide program, made possible by UND. Every town has a UND-team mentor, guiding them though the milestones. Experiments range from remote sensing, biology, physics, and atmospheric science.

Students meet at UND for integration night, where they give presentations, conduct flight readiness reviews, and collaborate with teams from around the state. The next morning, they launch their payloads, then return to UND classrooms to operate “Mission Control” where they remotely track, graph altitude charts, and follow along via livestreams.

The event is slated for Nov. 22 and 236, beginning at 4 p.m. Nov. 15 in Robin Hall first floor classrooms, and Launch Day starts at 8 a.m. in Robin Hall). Balloons will be filled in the UAS Gym of Robin Hall, and they will be launched near the parking lot/grassy area.

For more information, contact Marissa Saad, Coordinator, North DAkota Space Grant Consortium, 701-777-4161,