ASCEND! Aerospace STEM Challenges to Educate New Discoverers

2019-2020 Important Dates

  • November 12, 2019 - ASCEND! Diné Launch
  • November 22nd, 2019 - ASCEND! Workshop
  • November 23rd, 2019 - ASCEND! Launch 
  • March 2020, TBD - ASCEND! Diné Workshop
  • March 2020, TBD - ASCEND! Diné Launch
  • March 27th, 2020 - ASCEND! Workshop
  • March 28th, 2020 - ASCEND! Launch

Background

"ASCEND!" (Aerospace STEM Challenges to Educate New Discoverers) is an Arizona Space Grant Consortium statewide Workforce Development program designed to involve undergraduate students from across Arizona in the full "design-build-fly-operate-analyze" cycle of a space mission. Across our state, student teams from the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Glendale Community College, Pima Community College (NW and West campuses), Central Arizona College (Signal Peak and Superstition Mountain campuses), Estrella Mountain Community College, Phoenix Community College, and Diné (Tribal) College, design and build small payloads for launch from high altitude weather balloons. Teams measure various atmospheric parameters as a function of altitude up to about 100,000 feet and some obtain a series of timed images of the Earth throughout the balloon's ascent to characterize surface features, cloud structure, and the Earth's curvature. Participation in this program is geared to complement regular classroom learning by offering direct hands-on immersion with the full mission cycle--something few NASA or aerospace industry scientists and engineers ever see through.

 

Take a look at this introductory ASCEND video created by Paul Ronquillo (former ASCEND student team lead).

 

Want more ASCEND tutorials? Check out Paul's accounts on MINDS and BitChute!

MINDS    BITCHUTE

 

ASCEND! Photo Collection

ANSR YouTube Launch Videos

ASCEND! Payload Requirements:

Each payload must contain an imaging component interfaced with a tracking device (altitude, latitude/longitude). In addition, atmospheric experiments may be determined by each university design team, depending upon goals determined in consultation with program mentors.

Additional and/or alternative innovative engineering or science projects, which are not related to an atmospheric study but which could benefit from the high altitude/low temperature environment (for example, testing the reliability of power cells under low temperature and low pressure conditions), are encouraged. These additional/alternative projects are subject to weight, size and cost restrictions determined for the project and the viability of the experiments in the extremes of the upper atmospheres, where temperatures drop to -60 or -70 °C and atmospheric pressures are nearly negligible.

Design Tasks:

  • Building a light-weight, mechanically and thermally stable container for the experiments.
  • Correlating the data from your design package with the standard ANSR launch package (i.e., at a minimum, your data/experiment must have a clock/timestamp that is synchronized with the ANSR clock) to allow correlation of the images and any atmospheric data with altitude and geographic location with appropriate timing circuits and self-contained power supplies to drive all components of the package.
  • It is also desirable for your team to monitor and record telemetry for the balloon payload.

Operations:

All costs (within a specified budget) will be provided for the project. Each semester, teams will congregate in central Arizona for Friday evening pre-launch training workshops followed by Saturday launch and chase-down activities.

Teams will have opportunities to discuss their ASCEND design with representatives from our ANSR launch providers and teams from other participating universities several times throughout the semester during monthly telecons.  During these meetings, participants may ask questions, share experiences, and present their ideas for peer response.

In April, at the end of each program year, team members will present the results of their year's ASCEND! research and development projects at the statewide Arizona/NASA Undergraduate Research Internship Program Symposium in a topical session devoted to high altitude balloon science.

 

Find information from our launch provider at Arizona Near Space Research (ANSR).

Flight Data:

Date ASCEND! FLT# ANSR Flt# Launch site Altitude (ft) Notes
3/30/2019 36 124 Pinal County West Park, AZ 91,202 onboard data loggers may have captured a slightly higher altitude
3/30/2019 35 123 Pinal County West Park, AZ 96,819 onboard data loggers may have captured a slightly higher altitude
3/26/2019 34 122 Dine College campus, Tsaile, AZ  75,927 onboard data loggers may have captured a slightly higher altitude
11/17/2018 33 121 Maricopa 103,218  
11/17/2018 32 120 Maricopa 106,555  

3/3/2018

31 116 Dateland 96,400  

3/3/2018

30 115 Dateland 96,400  

11/17/2017

29 113 Gila Bend 97,500  

11/17/2017

28 112 Gila Bend 97,500  

4/1/2017

27 106 Maricopa    

4/1/2017

26 105 Maricopa    

11/19/2016

25

104

Stanfield

91,405

 

11/19/2016

24

103

Stanfield

101,692

 

4/2/2016

23

98

Maricopa

94,467

 

4/2/2016

22

97

Maricopa

96,619

 

11/21/2015

21

95

Maricopa

73,640

 

11/21/2015

20

94

Maricopa

78,816

 

3/1/2015

19

88

W. Pinal Park

94,688

 

11/1/2014

18

86

Maricopa

93,483

 

3/29/2014

17

81

Freeman Exit I-8

73,794

 

11/23/2013

16

78

Dateland

86,349

 

3/23/2013

15

74

Maricopa

93,000

 

11/17/2012

14

71

Maricopa

97,940

 

3/31/2012

13

67

Maricopa

97,940

 

11/19/2011

12

65

Quartzsite

89,977

 

3/26/2011

11

60

Gila Bend

85,978

 

11/20/2010

10

59

Quartzsite

96,214

 

3/27/2010

9

54

Gila Bend

86,450

 

11/21/2009

8

52

Gila Bend

93,538

 

4/4/2009

7

48

Gila Bend

89,676

 

11/22/2008

6

47

Goldwater Rng

95,867

 

4/5/2008

5

43

Gila Bend

92,209

 

11/17/2007

4

41

Maricopa

99,229

 

4/14/2007

3

37

Freeman Exit I-8

92,834

 

1/27/2007

2

34

Maricopa

98,856

delayed from 11/6/2006 (Weather)

11/19/2005

1

27

Maricopa

105,761