Update: SG Augmentation Solicitation Guidance

Dear Eclipse Ballooning teams,

In light of the surprising change of plans revealed with the release of the SG augmentation solicitation, we are sending guidance on what we think is advantageous for individual SGs for the Solar Eclipse Ballooning project. Before we go into the details, we’d like to say that we wish we could have communicated plans to you more efficiently but we were kept in the dark as to the changes as well.

We do think that the availability of funds and the national importance of the 2017 total solar eclipse offers a fantastic opportunity to join together as a community to do something that can only be done by working as a team. Having the eclipse funds available in the augmentation rather than the $50,000 for 50 teams gives each SG the flexibility to support the teams they wish at the amount they feel appropriate.

High Altitude Balloon project updates:

Continued participation updates available at the project website, http://eclipse.montana.edu

  1. 1) The recently announced SG augmentation is the funding opportunity for the nationwide eclipse ballooning project. We have confirmation that there will be no further eclipse solicitation. Communication was sent to the Space Grants about the change in funding opportunity. Please contact your Space Grant director to inquire if support will be available for your team. http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/spacegrant/home/Space_Grant_Consortium_Websites.html
  2. The NASA Science Mission Directorate is still committed to covering the costs of the common camera payload kits (that will be built up at the workshop) for project teams.
  3. A description of what the common payload includes as well as budget estimates for participation in the project can be found here: http://eclipse.montana.edu/funding/
  4. All teams planning to participate in the SG Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning project are required to participate in the project workshop. This is the one time all the teams will be together; the training, coordination, and networking time is essential. The workshop will take place July 16-20, 2016 in Bozeman, Montana and will be taught by the RockOn workshop leader, Chris Koehler, with assistance from Montana, Minnesota, Louisiana, and North Dakota SG staff and students. At the workshop, teams will build up the common payload (teams not choosing to fly the common payload will still need to build the satellite tracking payload), build common payload ground stations, test systems, discuss important project logistics, and conduct a test flight. Please see the workshop page for more details: http://eclipse.montana.edu/eclipse-ballooning-workshop/
  5. Registration for the workshop (and therefore participation in the project) is due the same day as our augmentation proposals, 3/29. This will give everyone the maximum amount of time to plan budgets but also give us enough time to order all (thousands!) the common payload parts. The registration site is linked on the workshop page.
  6. Please feel free to contact Shane (shane.mayergawlik@montana.edu) with questions, use the ‘contact us’ page on the project website, and use the discussion forum on the bottom of this page: http://eclipse.montana.edu/get-involved/

Warm Regards,

Your Eclipse Ballooning team