Category Archives: High-Altitude Weather Balloon

The UB-SEDS high-altitude balloon project will attempt to send a weather balloon into earth’s atmosphere to take HD video and images.

Weather Balloon

Weather Balloon meetings are Wednesdays at 6:30pm in Furnas 1025.

Weather Balloon is an old project group of SEDS that was resurrected this year. Since we are starting from scratch, the group has spent this semester researching how weather balloons work, and what is necessary to build one on our own. Currently, we are collecting parts for our plan to build a functional balloon. Usually every other week, we invite members of NanoSat to come in and give us pointers and suggestions on constructing our balloon. Provided that our parts come in on time, we would like to do a test flight this semester, with plans to do a joint balloon project with NanoSat in the spring.

Email questions to Weather Balloon project lead Michael Yedinak at


UB-SEDS/Nanosat Successful Balloon Launch

On Monday, March 31, 2014, many months of hard work and planning came to fruition when the Nanosat/SEDS Joint Experimental Balloon (NS-JEB) launched over the Buffalo/Niagara region.

Background noise radiation from household devices like WiFi routers and cell phones has a big impact on communication systems in cubesats. The purpose of this balloon was to determine the levels of this radiation above western New York. The payload contained an array of instruments, including a camera, GPS, barometer, magnetometer, an independent APRS tracking beacon, a redundant SPOT tracking beacon, temperature sensors, heaters, and two radios for measuring noise levels. An Arduino was used to gather data from the sensors, log it to flash memory, and maintain temperature control.


As planned, the balloon burst roughly an hour away from buffalo, after taking the following path:


We are still in the process of analyzing the data. However, once published, cubesats will be able to use it to more accurately estimate the communications capabilities of the satellite.

While it appears that the scientific data captured by the radios will be quite useful, a baffling image was captured by the onboard camera, which has defied all attempts at analysis:


What is its meaning? Perhaps we will never know

Check out the video of the entire flight below:

UB-SEDS High Altitude Weather Balloon Payload

On October 22nd, 2011, the University at Buffalo Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UB-SEDS) chapter launched a high-altitude weather balloon into the Earth’s upper atmosphere. It carried a payload containing a GoPro HD video camera, a flight computer to log data and heat batteries, and two tracking systems. Temperature, pressure, and acceleration data were recorded. A HAM radio transmitter and high-altitude GPS chip combination enabled tracking using Google APRS, in addition to a Motorola Droid phone that used an Android Marketplace GPS tracker app. It reached a maximum altitude of 95,000ft, and was recovered 91 miles downrange, south of Sodus, NY, from its launch location in Holland, NY.