Montana State University

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173780
Bozeman, MT 59717-3780

Tel: (406) 994-2505
Fax: (406) 994-5958
Location: 610 Cobleigh Hall

Department Head:

Robert C. Maher

High Altitude Balloon Payload Design Program
(Summer 2012)


Program Overview

    In this project, 6 female engineering students will work as part of an interdisciplinary project team to design a high altitude balloon payload. The payload will collect environmental information during the flight to allow subsequent science experiments to be carried safely. The payload will be designed to adhere to the interface guidelines from the High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) balloon launch program that is jointly administered by the NASA Wallops Balloon Program Office and Louisiana State University for a future flight. At the end of the summer program, the payload will be test flown on a MSGC BOREALIS balloon platform to an altitude of 100,000 feet.

    The overall goals of this program are to engage underrepresented groups in STEM and expose undergraduate engineering students to an interdisciplinary design project which is accomplished using the principles of systems engineering. Program Flyer

The Design Team

    Left to Right:

    Jen Hoff, Senior in Electrical Engineering
    Kate Ferris, Junior in Electrical Engineering
    Kaysha Young, Senior in Mechanical Engineering & Mechanical Engineering Technology
    Emily Bishop, Senior in Mechanical Engineering
    Alison Figueira, Junior in Computer Science
    Makenzie Guyer, Sophomore in Computer Science


    Left to Right:

    Brock LaMeres, Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering
    Hunter Lloyd, Faculty, Computer Science
    Robb Larson, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering Technology
    Angela Des Jardins, Director of the Montana Space Grant Consortium

Engineering Design Process

    1. Mission Architecture

    Mission Objective: To collect measurements at high altitudes of atmospheric temperature and pressure, the internal temperature and dynamic movement of a payload that meets HASP flight requirements.
    Budget: $500
    Schedule: 8 Weeks, (6/4/12 - 7/27/12)
    The Design Team: Jen Hoff & Kate Ferris : (Electrical System)
    Kaysha Young & Emily Bishop : (Mechanical System)
    Allison Figueira & Makenzie Guyer : (Computer System)

    2. Mission Requirements

    Functional Requirements: - Log/Store data from the sensors on a non-viotile storage device.
    - Power Sensors and any electronics needed to run these sensors.
    - Protect the system from environmental conditions.
    - Protected from the impact upon landing/jerk from the balloon pop.
    - Provide state of health information of the system.
    Performance Requirements: - Consume 7 watts in order to accurately represent the research team's thermal output.
    - Log data from the temperature/pressure sensors at a rate of 1 measurement per second.
    - Log data from the accelerometers at a rate of 3 measurements per second.
    - Provide insulation to keep the internal temperature between -40 C and 60 C.
    - Provide at least 4 hours of power for the duration of the setup, flight, and recovery time.
    - Withstand an vertical force of10 g and a horizontal force of 5g.
    - Withstand vibrations up to ____- Hz.
    Physical Requirements: - Must weight 1.62 kg.
    - Maximum Total Volume: 15 cm x 15 cm x 30 cm.
    - Mechanically interface with the HASP payload plate in addition to the BOREALIS system.
    Reliability Requirements: - Must be able to survive preliminary tests and two launches.

    3. Systems Requirements

    4. Preliminary Design

    5. Critical Design

    6. Assembly & Test

    7. Product Launch

Design Documents

    Internal Documents

    External References

    Systems Engineering Resources

Role Model Series

    Objective: Each week we will expose our design team to women working in STEM and/or in leadership roles in the STEM community.
    Dr. Angela Des Jardins
    Director, MT Space Grant Consortium

    Tuesday, 6/8/12 (ECE Conf Rm)
    Dr. Cady Coleman
    NASA Astronaut

    Monday, 6/11/12 (Northern Hotel, Helena)
    Dr. Erin Cech
    Stanford Institute for Gender Research

    Tuesday, 6/19/12 (EPS 258)
    Dr. Joey Key
    Education Specialist, MT Space Grant Consortium

    Wednesday, 6/27/12 (ECE Conf Rm)
    Sarah Codd
    Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, MSU
    Monday, 7/9/12 (ECE Conf Rm)
    Jen Brown
    Assistant Professor, Chemical & Biological Engineering, MSU
    Wednesday, 7/11/12 (ECE Conf Rm)
    Heidi M. Sherick
    Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Diversity, COE
    Thursday, 7/12/12 (ECE Conf Rm)
    Dr. Martha Potvin
    Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs, MSU
    Tuesday, 7/17/12 (ECE Conf Rm)