Update: Proposals, Solicitation and Workshop

Dear Eclipse Ballooning teams,

With the delayed release of the SMD/Space Grant eclipse ballooning solicitation we have surpassed the date at which money could be available for travel to a May eclipse ballooning workshop. The latest information we have indicates that the solicitation should be released in the next month. We’re doing everything we can about the timing though it is out of our hands – thanks for hanging in there!! In the meantime you can find details about recommended information for your proposal here: http://eclipse.montana.edu/proposal-information/ .

The eclipse ballooning workshop is required for all of the teams funded by the Space Grant opportunity and any others who want to participate in this eclipse ballooning project.

The purpose of the eclipse ballooning workshop is to 1) build and test your common live camera payloads, in-flight tracking system, and ground stations (provided at no cost to teams who are funded in the Space Grant eclipse opportunity), 2) overview the eclipse ballooning effort, 3) build collaborations amongst the teams including ideas for secondary payloads, 4) discuss logistical details – launch locations, gaining ballooning experience, etc., and 5) hopefully do a demonstration flight.

Anyone is welcome to participate in the eclipse ballooning project. Please note, however, that teams who wish to fly the common live feed payload but are not funded by the Space Grant opportunity will need to purchase their own common payload supplies at a cost of approximately $3,100 prior to the workshop. More information about this option will be available in the future. Teams may participate in the project without flying the whole common payload. Purchasing and flying the satellite tracking modem (part of the common payload) IS required for all eclipse ballooning project teams.

Due to the solicitation delay we have decided to adjust the Bozeman, Montana workshop dates to July 16th – 20th. This allows for teams to receive funding in time to make travel plans and still allows time to prepare for August 21, 2016 balloon flights to practice with the equipment. While this July date is in the peak of the summer tourist season in Bozeman, travel/housing costs should remain reasonable. Dorm rooms will be available (50 doubles and 50 singles) to participants and airfare should be practical. Those who do not want to stay in the dorms should make their own hotel reservations by the end of April to ensure a room.

The May 16th-20th timeslot will now be used conduct a practice workshop with 3-4 teams. If the July 16th-20st dates absolutely do not work for your team and your group feels comfortable covering travel/housing and the registration fee prior to award notification, you should consider participating in this May practice. The practice workshop will be a full representation of the July workshop but may not be as polished.  It is a practice workshop for a reason.

There will be an on-line registration process for the July workshop.  Details coming soon.  We recommend sending at least one faculty/staff advisor and one student per team to the workshop and no more than four per team. The timeline for registration will be forthcoming but due no later than the end of May as parts will need to be ordered.

We anticipate the workshop registration fee, which you should *include in your SG eclipse proposal budgets*, will be about $690, $860, $1020 or $1185 for a  one, two, three or four person team respectively attending the workshop. Breakfast and lunch will provided each day for 5 days. Also included in the registration fee are necessary payload building tools, handbooks, eclipse ballooning T-shirts, and shipping of your finished payloads and ground station home. Housing costs and dinners are not included in the registration fee. More details about costs will be sent once the SG solicitation is released.

Thank you and have a great week,

Your Eclipse Ballooning team