Update: Proposals and Workshop

Dear Colleagues,

We know you might be wondering what is going on with the eclipse ballooning project and we wanted to update you as much as possible. This information is also being conveyed directly to the currently ‘signed-up’ teams. Before we get into the details we wanted to let you know that the project just passed a major milestone – the Science Mission Directorate funding for our efforts to manage the nationwide project has been awarded. After years of work, it’s starting to become a reality!

  1. The workshop is verified for May 16th-20th, 2016 in Bozeman, MT. The May workshop will no longer focus on zero pressure ballooning; instead it will focus on overall project implementation, building up the common payload, doing payload/flight demonstrations, and cross-team collaboration building. We highly recommend that at least two members from each team participate in the workshop (a mentor and student).  We understand there are concerns about funding flow for travel to this workshop, though we still hope money will be in hand in time for travel plans to be made. More details about the workshop and the common payload will be forthcoming.
  2. We had 23 teams participate in the practice event on October 27th. Using the updated launch sites we now have a remarkable spread of teams across the path of totality (which can be seen here: http://eclipse.montana.edu/participants-2/). The team/program websites have also been added to the icons on the Google Map. We would like to implement something similar  during the eclipse to allow people to see which team has a balloon in the air and be able click to see the flight feed and learn about that program/payload etc.
  3. We are still awaiting the solicitation from NASA. They are currently working on it and we anticipate the solicitation before the winter holiday. Below, we give guidance on what you can be thinking about now for preparing these short (limited to 5 pages) proposals.
  • Who? Who is the PI and who are the students that will be working on the project?
  • What? What are your project plans? Are you planning on flying the common payload? A secondary payload? Both?
    • If your team is flying one payload, are you flying another team’s payload?
    • Is your team piggybacking on another team’s balloon? (If you have room for another payload and can fly a payload for another team, or if you are a team who is not flying their own balloon and needs a ride, please let people know)
  • How? How is your project relevant to NASA’s goals, especially Science Mission Directorate goals? How will this be hands on for students?
  • When? Provide a team timeline supplementing the Eclipse Teams Timeline (on the Eclipse Ballooning Project website and attached) with your own milestones and goals.
  • Technology Plan: How are you going to build your payloads?
    • Common payload plan (attend workshop)
    • Secondary payload plan
  • Paragraph on management plan:
    • Who will oversee project?
    • How will you interact with the Eclipse Ballooning Project leaders?
  • Paragraph on facilities: What do you have at your disposal to make your project a success?
  • Paragraph on safety: What attention to safety will your team make?
  • Budget: Here are a few key things to include in the up to $50,000 request:
    • 2 people (at least) to May workshop in Bozeman, MT
    • Balloon & helium supplies
    • Iridium data cost (~$50/flight for position reporting; more if additional telemetry is sent down)
    • Secondary payload supplies (recall the common payload will be distributed free to teams)
    • Travel for the eclipse day(s)
    • Student support

Thank you and have a great week,

Angela and Shane