2016 Near-Space Balloon Competition
The 2016 Call for Proposals has been announced, requesting submissions by Friday, September 30, 2016. The 2016 NSBC mission objective requires teams to study the Sun, in preparation for next August’s total solar eclipse. The tentative launch date is scheduled for Saturday, November 19, 2016. Finally, in addition to the standard grand prizes, the first place team’s payload will be transported to Idaho and flown during the eclipse (right in the path of totality!), on NDSGC’s balloon. For more information about the competition, visit the NSBC website: blogs.und.edu/nsbc
The NDSGC holds an annual Near-Space Balloon Competition (NSBC), an engaging launch program available to all middle and high students in North Dakota. Since 2011, students have gained hands-on experience with the scientific and engineering design process, while having fun. Students have four months to fulfill NASA’s Project Life Cycle. They create a hypothesis, design, construct, and launch a payload on a high altitude balloon. This balloon, which expands between 30 to 40 feet in diameter, rises high into the stratosphere, bursts around 100,000 feet, and descends back to Earth via a parachute. After joining the chase teams and tracking the balloon with GPS, students locate the payloads and gather their experiments. Returning back to the classroom, these young scientists analyze their data and produce a final report.
For more information or questions, please email the NSBC management team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Marissa Saad at 701-777-4161.
Chloe Ondracek, Minot State University, Mathematics
I am currently working towards a major in mathematics and a minor in computer science at Minot State University. For as long as I can remember math has been one of my favorite subjects. I always want to know how things work and why things happen and thus one of the reasons I love math so much is because it explains a lot about the world we live in. I started taking courses at MSU as a dual-credit student when I was still in high school and it was then I met my research advisor. I have been performing undergraduate research for about a year and a half and it has been a wonderful, challenging, and enriching experience which has provided me with many opportunities including presenting my work at several different conferences across the country. Research is a building block to what will hopefully be a successful career in math. In my free time I enjoy dancing, traveling, horseback riding, reading, and music.
Anne Longlet, University of North Dakota, Space Studies
Anne received a B.A. in mathematics and physics from Winona State University in May 2013. She decided to pursue a master’s degree in Space Studies at the University of North Dakota starting in August 2013. She is now a second year graduate student and is emphasizing in planetary science. In the summer of 2014, she completed an internship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center where she worked on a project involving dust mitigation for the James Webb Space Telescope. After graduating from UND, she plans to either pursue a PhD or pursue a career in the aerospace industry.
Ricardo Alfaro Contreras, University of North Dakota, Atmospheric Sciences
I am originally from Denver, CO and I have always had an interest in space. This led me to a BA in Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder. While an undergraduate, I worked as an intern for the Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy as a member of a laboratory team on the LUNAR project, designing and building a mechanism which could deploy future radio telescopes on the surface of the moon. I received my MS from the University of North Dakota in Atmospheric Sciences with a thesis on investigating deficiencies in cloud property retrievals from space-borne satellite sensors due to aerosols suspended above the clouds. My current work involves a long-term study of the above-cloud aerosol phenomena, as well as other-cloud aerosol-interaction studies and atmospheric modeling using the Weather and Research Forecasting model. In my spare time, I love playing sports like football and soccer. I also enjoy spending a beautiful Colorado day outdoors with my family, especially my two year old son.
Brett Sergenain, University of North Dakota, Geography
Brett Sergenian is a 2014 graduate with a Master’s degree in geography from the University of North Dakota. During the summer of 2013, Brett compiled and summarized literature on using remote sensing for groundwater targeting for Dr. Santosh Seelan, who is publishing a paper on the topic. It was a great experience for Brett and he hopes to continue to work with remote sensing data. Currently, Brett is employed in Idaho working with GIS. Brett’s interests include GIS, remote sensing, LiDAR, groundwater data, and spatial statistics.
Karl Williams, University of North Dakota, Space Studies
The fall of 2014 marks the start of my final year as a master’s student in Space Studies. While finishing classes I will be working on my Individual Research Project focusing on the use of super synchronous transfer orbits for satellites traveling from LEO to GEO under the advisement of Professor David Whalen. I am also working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant under Dr. Whalen for the undergraduate introductory course Space Studies 200. I am very excited to begin this last year as it is the last step to beginning my career in a space related field, as well as it should be the most engaging and exciting year yet in my graduate career. Outside of school I like to hunt and fish, and I have recently picked up archery as a new hobby. I enjoy the fall the most, as it is the season during which I get to spend the most time seeing what nature has to offer.