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Katies will launch a weather balloon during Flight Day

Katies participate in the HALO Network balloon launch in Zimmerman, Minn., in this file photo. St. Kate's students will conduct another launch on Flight Day, Sept. 22, 2012.
Katies participate in the HALO Network balloon launch in Zimmerman, Minn., in this file photo. St. Kate's students will conduct another launch on Flight Day, Sept. 22, 2012.
St. Catherine University

Students at St. Kate's are getting in on the excitement for Minnesota Aerospace and Aviation Week 2012, with plans to conduct a high-altitude weather balloon launch on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Students will embark on their travels early Saturday, when they will board a college van and head south to Northfield Middle School in Northfield, Minn., for the culminating event of the week, Flight Day. Working with Erick Agrimson, Assistant Professor of Physics at St. Kate's, and a crew from the University of Minnesota, St. Kate's students will prepare and launch a weather balloon "near space."

The team plans to prepare for the launch at about 9 a.m., launch the weather balloon at about 10 a.m. and conduct on-site GPS tracking for an hour following the launch. Students and faculty will then conduct a full-day chase of the balloon, in order to recover it before the close of Flight Day.

"The upper level winds will take the balloon to Iowa for a recovery," says Agrimson. Agrimson has run a number of predictions and he anticipates that the weather balloon will land southwest of Decorah, Iowa, give or take 20 miles, due to the active conditions of the jetstream this week.

One of many activities scheduled to celebrate Flight Day, this event will run from about 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday. Flight Day is being hosted by a variety of organizations, and the events are open to students, teachers and families in local communities.

Northfield Middle School is located at 2200 Division Street South in Northfield, Minn. To learn about other events around the state, visit AirSpace Minnesota.

Sep. 21, 2012 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Faculty, STEM, Students