Project Strato is the high altitude balloon division of MXL. Founded in May 2013, it has heritage in Stanford’s BioLaunch program and the High Altitude Solutions group from the Michigan Nanosatellite Pipeline. Strato includes both undergraduate and graduate level students from various engineering departments at the University of Michigan. The team’s goals break down into four main categories:
- Reliable exploration at stratospheric altitudes. The stratosphere provides an excellent vantage point for both Earth observation and space exploration. Strato is working to provide reliable, long duration flights of low-cost, low-mass flight trains.
- Develop new technologies to expand the operational envelope of high altitude vehicles. Strato is consistently pursuing new technologies to enable flights to fly higher, further, and with greater capability. Technologies in development include flight termination units, precision landing, position control, and high speed communication.
- Utilize technology from MXL to increase balloon capabilities and accelerate current satellite development. Satellites and balloon payloads have a lot in common; communications, power, attitude determination, etc. As such, Strato provides a test bed for future satellite technologies in a near-space environment, and heritage technology from MXL is used to advance the balloon program.
- Perform outreach and advance interest in science and technology in the community. High altitude ballooning is an ideal opportunity to involve young students and life-long learners in near-space missions. We are always looking for more opportunities to interact with the community and bring our interest in exploration to others.
Below is a list of planned launch dates with some information on how to follow the launch. If you are interested in participating in a launch in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Note that flight dates are approximate and subject to change. Launch locations are based on wind conditions and will be posted the week prior to a flight.
To track launches live, go to aprs.fi into your browser and search for the tracker call signs listed below.
- 21 August 2017 – Gallatin, TN: We’re flying imaging systems for the 2017 Eclipse.
|23||10/4/2015||Berkey, OH||Fly NASA’s mini SHADO hardware|
|22||9/1/2015||Cabela’s in Dundee, MI||Test flight #2 for the SHADO project|
|21||8/6/2015||Napoleon High School||Test flight #1 for the SHADO project|
|20||4/25/2015||Jonesville, MI||Re-fly of Strato-Sat sensor suite||Summary|
|19||1/24/2015||Michigan Center High School||Test of Strato-Sat sensor suite||Summary|
|18||12/19/2014||Hanover, MI||Test of Strato-Sat sensor suite||Summary|
|17||10/25/2014||Columbia Central High School||Tether flight for outreach event/ test FTU||Summary||Media|
|16||9/18/2014||Peach Mountain Radio Observatory||Demo tethered flight capability||Summary||Media|
|15||7/22/2014||Ovid-Elsie High School||Outreach Event, pressure based cut down, and video streaming||Summary||Media|
|14||6/13/2014||Hudson, MI||FTU and Tracker Test||Summary||Media|
|13||6/13/2014||Hudson, MI||FTU and Tracker Test||Summary||Media|
|12||5/29/2014||Peach Mountain Observatory||FTU and Tracker Test||Summary||Media|
|11||4/19/2014||Jackson, MI||Testing of hardware||Summary||Media|
|10||3/16/2014||Coldwater, MI||Measurement of flight train dynamics.||Summary||Media|
|9||2/15/2014||Battle Creek, MI||Measurement of flight train dynamics, and prototype momentum wheel testing||Summary||Media|
|8||1/11/2014||Dowagiac, MI||Momentum wheel testing||Summary||Media|
|6||9/15/2013||Cincinatti, OH||Public relations flight for a Strato partner. Flew a bowtie for Bowtie Cause.||Media|
|5||8/25/2013||Dundee, MI||Test ground station antenna controller||Media|
|4||7/29/2013||Pittsford, MI||Tech demo of internal balloon environment (pressure and temperature)||Media|
|3||7/19/2013||Tecumseh, MI||Measure exterior temperature, humidity, and pressure||Media|
|2||6/19/2013||Dundee, MI||Measure internal temperature, humidity, and pressure||Media|
|1||6/2/2013||Quincy, MI||Testing of tracking systems|