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On April 18, 2013, eleven freshman Honors Science Seminar students traveled to Nashville
with Dr. Ray Bloomer, professor of Physics and Astronomy and associate dean for Arts
and Sciences for a special balloon launch. Once the students arrived on the campus
of Trevecca Nazarene University, they attempted to launch their payload into near-space.
“This time our camera sailed, recording an amazing view of the curved blue planet
against the absolute black of space,” Bloomer said about the images captured by the
on-board camera. This time around the balloon reached nearly 82,000 feet in the stratosphere.”
The original experiment took place in Nov. 2012. Faculty members at Trevecca Nazarene
University invited the students back to the campus in Nashville to attempt to re-launch
the project and collect experimental data.
“The first attempt at launching a full model payload into the atmosphere included
a device built in part out of two cds and an apple corer,” said Bloomer. “Although
the students achieved a successful launch, they did not reach the intended height
of 100,000 feet into the atmosphere. The balloon leveled off at 20,000 feet. Thus,
our experiments were not in the region of the atmosphere where we wanted to see the
effects of near space. We think the balloon may have been defective or a valve may have been left open
and the helium leaked out, thus limiting the lift into the air.
“We got the ride we wanted and were happy with that,” Bloomer said. “After the first
unsuccessful launch, we’re grateful to be able to travel back and show off the students
The payload device was part of an overall class experiment, constructed from various
scientific parts and instruments, allowing it to launch into near-space. Students
said the project showed the culmination of an entire semester's worth of work.
“Experiences, such as those granted by Science Seminar, are imperative in the Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) community,” said freshman Austin Patrick.
Employers and graduate schools are focusing more and more on real world experience,
and original experiment designs as part of their selection processes.”
The on-board data log recorded temperatures and traveled about 60 to 70 miles away
from the original launch point.
The group’s sampling of the atmosphere succeeded; they found debris much closer to
the ground with the successful launch of the payload device. This was the first time
an experiment was offered to freshman Honors Science Seminar students.
King University is a Presbyterian, master's-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King
College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees
and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences,
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in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus
learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University
is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity athletic teams.
For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of
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