Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is partnering with Omaha Public Schools’ (OPS) Science Office for a high-altitude balloon launch on Thursday, November 1 at noon. The weather balloons will carry experimental pods created by Zoo Academy students to maximum altitudes of between 80,000 and 120,000 feet.
The launch will take place at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on the Desert Dome Plaza, weather dependent.
The middle school Zoo Academy students, eighth graders from King Science and Technology Magnet Middle School, completed research plans and followed specific protocols to prepare their experimental pods for high altitudes. Sensors onboard the lift system will continuously collect data throughout the mission. Data will be streamed live to an antenna on the ground, and multiple position location systems will be tracking the pods. When the balloon reaches maximum altitude, it will burst. The pods, equipped with parachutes, will be collected and returned to King students for analyses when they reach the ground. This is the 73rd high-altitude balloon launch from the OPS Science Office.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and OPS have partnered together for the middle school Zoo Academy program since it was launched in 2014. Through Zoo Academy, middle school students can take zoology and zoo architecture courses partially onsite at the Zoo. There are 21 middle school students enrolled in the 2018-2019 school year.