Thanks for visiting!

This project is now in update mode. Check back regularly to see how things are progressing.

Help Students Launch Payloads for NASA

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
92 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on July 19, at 11:59 PM MST
Project Owners

Help Students Launch Payloads for NASA

Through the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) capstone class, students are given the unique opportunity to both design and build every aspect of an experimental payload. For payloads that must be launched, NASA’s High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) program provides a possible route for a select few on their weather balloon gondola. This balloon, which is the size of a football field, flies at about 120,000 ft which is near space altitude. Despite there only being 12 seats on the gondola, and a full-length proposal being required for this international competition, two SESE capstone teams applied for the program this year and both were accepted.    

Although their missions are different (details below), both teams have worked to build payloads that tackle some climate related issue. Even though the class has now ended, many students from both teams have remained on their projects for the summer. These students are all highly motivated and invested in their projects, so being able to see their hard work pay off by attending both the integration and launch of their payloads would be a dream come true.    

This is where you as a donor can help make these dreams a reality. In the months of July and September, HASP requires two trips for all teams. The first takes place in Texas where payloads are tested and integrated for flight. The second takes place during in New Mexico where the payloads actually launch. Your donation will enable the capstone teams to not only travel to these events then, but also be provided with food and housing while there. Please help us to both support these students and their contribution towards better understanding climate science!


Meet the Teams

Team AWSOME stands for Atmospheric Water vapor Sounding-sensor Operating on Millimeter-wave Equipment. Their goals focus on launching a novel radiometer device that will measure the vertical water vapor profile of the atmosphere for purposes of better understanding how it affects both weather and climate. Water is indeed a stronger greenhouse gas than even Carbon Dioxide, so it is their ultimate hope that their findings may better uncover the relationship between it and ground temperatures, as well as justify the device for a possible CubeSat in the future.

Back (from left to right): David Halperin, Katherine Morin, April Davis, Alexa Drew, Bianca Pina, Philip Rybak

Front (from left to right): Peter Wullen, Alvaro Martinez


Team SMOLDER stands for Small Mounted Optical Lens Dual-camera Experimental Remote-sensor. Their goals focus on using reflectance spectroscopy imagery to both predict drought conditions and understand the relationship between vegetation indices and rainfall.  By doing so, they hope to contribute to our current understanding of wildfires that have been exacerbated by climate change, and thus help limit the damage caused by them.

From left to right: David Lewis, Michael Oals, Jenna Robinson, Timothy McMillen, Henry Lewis, and Paras Angell

Not pictured: Megan Bromley



Choose a giving level


Food and Living Expenses

A donation of this amount provides a day's worth of food and living expenses for one student.


Hotel Stay

A donation of this amount pays for an overnight hotel room shared between two students.


Whole Trip Expenses

A donation of this amount pays for a student's entire food and living expenses over the course of a trip.


Five Day Hotel Stay

A donation of this amount provides a student with a hotel room for five nights.


Trip to New Mexico

A donation of this amount provides vehicle transportation for both teams to Fort Sumner, New Mexico so that they can launch their payloads.

Our Crowdfunding Groups