VESTAL, N.Y. – A group of students hard work lifted off today.

Kopernik Summer Camp students launched a weather balloon from the Observatory and Science Center at around 9:00 am this morning.

Fourteen middle and high school aged students worked on the project as part of Kopernik’s Link STEM Summer Exploration Program.

The payload for the balloon included three GoPro Cameras, an atmospheric data collection system using a Raspberry Pi computer and a Slow Scan television System which sends pictures during the flight through Ham Radio.

Kopernik Executive Director Drew Deskur says this is a project kids look forward to every year.

“We’re really excited about all the camps we’ve got here at Kopernik. It’s an opportunity for kids to step out of the classroom and do some real hands on work. This is a great example of the kind of hands on work that will hopefully inspire them to choose a career in science or engineering;” says Deskur.

The FAA was made aware of the flight and students tracked the payload through its flight with the onboard tracking system and recovered it when it returned to Earth.

The expected landing site was the Albany area and the balloon was believed to reach an altitude of over 100,000 feet.