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High Altitude Balloon Challenge

October 11, 2021

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Congratulations to the 8 squadrons from Virginia Wing that participated in the High Altitude Balloon Challenge. There were 187 units across Civil Air Patrol who participated in the balloon launch. Each squadron submitted experiments to launch in a high altitude balloon to compare to a control sample. Balloons were launched to 87,621 ft and 103,057 ft before landing the payloads back on Earth. The experiments were shipped back to the squadrons where they completed experiment analyses.

Two Virginia Wing units received recognition in the awards ceremony. Burke Composite Squadron was awarded the most innovative science award and a $600 grant. Hanover Composite Squadron was nominated for the best digital patch.

The following units entered experiments:
MAR-VA-108 Fredericksburg Composite Squadron 2dLt Sarah Kobialka , Aerospace Education Officer
MAR-VA-088 Newport News Composite Squadron Lt Col Bruce Munger, Aerospace Education Officer
MAR-VA-094 Hanover County Composite Squadron 1st Lt Michael Baylor, Unit Commander
MAR-VA-095 Coastal Composite Squadron Capt Daniel Baxter, Aerospace Education Officer
MAR-VA-056 Montgomery Composite Squadron Lt Col David Schuh, Unit Commander & Aerospace Education Officer
MAR-VA-135 Minuteman Composite Squadron Capt Dalyah Ronzio, Aerospace Education Officer
MAR-VA-130 Burke Composite Squadron Capt Sara E Demyanovich, Unit Commander
MAR-VA- 040 Winchester Composite Squadron Lt Col Constance Muncy, Aerospace Education Officer

Some of the experiments included:

  • Lucky Charm marshmallows affected by pressure, moisture, radiation, taste and color changes
  • Energizer battery vs dollar brand battery: maintain voltage/charge
  • Post-it notes: does the written message have changes like faded ink, color of post it and changes in stickiness
  • Kid marker: affected by pressure, temperature any fading ink, swelling of ink tube
  • Adhesives in Space: Strength of bond tested on flight and control samples. Winner of Innovative Science Award
  • Micro SD Card: Tested to see if data was changed by flight
  • Fabric with dye: Tested to see if it faded by flight

More details and the awards show are available at

The balloon challenge allowed cadets to learn about the scientific process and explore the impact of space on processes and materials. Congratulations to all of our units and members who participated and to Burke for their award!

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