NSU/LSMSA DemonSats-4 team balloon launch a success

A team of students from Northwestern State University and the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, the DemonSats-4 team, launched a payload into space via sounding balloon Tuesday.  The team, which includes Derek Dupree of Houma, a Physical Science/Biology double major at NSU, and Reese Nordan and Arianna Jackson, recent LSMSA graduates, defended their space payload design Monday and integrated their payload onto the flight string for Tuesday’s space launch.   

The team defended their payload before the Louisiana Aerospace Catalysts Experiences for Students (LaACES) and NASA officials to earn permission to launch the payload.  

The ACES-69 flight launched at 11 a.m. Tuesday from Elton High School for a two-hour sounding balloon flight expected to reach 100,000 feet, mid-stratosphere.  The flight can be tracked tomorrow here:  https://laspace.lsu.edu/laaces/flightinfo/?fname=ACES-69. 

A video of the launch is available here: https://screenpal.com/watch/c0h0DuVAk7r. 

“The team’s project was to build an environmental chamber for sensors that maintains an increased pressure when compared to the external environment,” explained Dr. Anna Dugas, faculty advisor.  “This sensor chamber design will be used in future payloads to provide a better opportunity for gas sensors to make effective measurements in the upper atmosphere, where the air pressure is very low.” 

LaSPACE is a consortium in the NASA National Space Grant and Fellowship Program network that is designed to network college, university and state education boards with partners in business, industry and the non-profit sector to develop aerospace science, research, technology, education and awareness.   

The LaACES student ballooning program was developed to train a new generation of scientists and engineers for the aerospace industry and the general STEM workforce. LaSPACE students are exposed to aerospace project development from the design, fabrication, testing and operation of small payloads launched on a latex sounding balloon vehicle that will carry the experiments to the edge of space, an altitude of 32-35 kilometers.  

LaACES is open to NSU students who are enrolled in Physics 3400 and/or Physics 3900, as well as other STEM students and students interested in STEM project management and technical writing with instructor permission.  The group’s focus is learning how to complete a project affiliated with NASA.  The project involves payload design, building and testing, as well as extensive documentation including preliminary design (PDR), critical design (CDR) and flight readiness review (FRR) reports.