Mancunian Balloonian is a student-led high altitude balloon (HAB) project ran by MANSEDS. The aim of the mission: to establish an interdisciplinary HAB program based at the University of Manchester to help foster enthusiasm for space and engineering community-wide and give students an opportunity to develop both technical and teamwork skills. The project started in February 2016 with over 25 volunteers from disciplines ranging from theoretical physics, to astronomy, to the various engineering fields.
The first launch will take a light-medium payload to an altitude of 35km – above 99.5% of the Earth’s atmosphere and the blackness of space dominates over the Earth far below. This flight will be filmed by two on-board cameras and will return high-definition footage and panoramic photographs of the curvature of the Earth. Utilising a Raspberry Pi as the flight computer and a telemetry board fitted with sensors, the flight path of the balloon, and atmospheric conditions such as wind velocity, temperature and pressure will be recorded. Photographic data and internal temperature and acceleration sensors will also serve to study payload heat transfer, rotation and dynamics, enhancing future missions. The main experiment will study the density distribution of dust particles in the stratosphere.
Mancunian Balloonian creates a link between engineers and scientists, with students from a diverse range of backgrounds including physics, materials science, aerospace, electrical, mechanical and civil engineering. The project has only been made possible by the generous support of Tom Ashton (Bolton) Limited, who are sponsoring the launch with a contribution of £750.