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    UPDATE: Launch was at 7:35am Monday morning. See below for more details including the Operations log.

    The University of Colorado Space Grant team of 10 students proposed a High Altitude Student Platform project in December 2007 and were awarded a flight opportunity to be launched on Saturday September 13, 2008.  They have flown preliminary version of their science experiments on sounding balloon flights from Colorado during Fall 2007 and Spring 2008 proving their science instruments.

    Payload Title: Demonstrating Intensity of Electromagnetic High Altitude Radiation Determination (DIEHARD)

    Mission Statement -  The DIEHARD team will determine the viability of high altitude observatories by diurnal imaging of celestial bodies, measuring and recording light intensity in the stratosphere as a function of altitude, and by nocturnal imaging of celestial bodies to determine atmospheric turbulence and light intensity due to residuals in the atmosphere.

                This will be achieved by mounting four photometers at 45 from the horizon. During ascent and descent these will record data for broadband viewing while at night, an astronomical filter wheel will record data for four different wavelengths of light. Two CCD cameras will record video during the flight. One large angle field of view (FOV) CCD will find points of reference in the night sky while the other smaller FOV CCD will make more detailed observations. This student lead team will continue to work with scientific advisers from Dartmouth and the Southwest Research Institute to build upon flight experiences from Fall 2007.

    The full mission description can be found here:


    Flight Status Updates:

    Pictures from Integration in Palistine TX in early August and pictures of final integration and flight readiness in Ft. Sumner NM.


    General info:
    Flight data:
    Live Video Feed (CosmoCam):
    HASP Google Map Tracking

    Operations Log:

    9/16 8:54am HASP is still floating in SE New Mexico. The sun shade closed last night to prevent the telescope CCD from burning out and was reopened during the night. Data was stored on the solid state hard drive during the flight and we will receive the payload later this week or early next week. At that time the team will start the data analysis. During the day yesterday, the payload was cold at first and the computer shut down but later in the day the computer was too warm and had to be on a 40m on 20m off duty cycle to maintain temperature. The student team is on their way home right meow.

    9/15 11:35am The telescope sun shade has deployed. We are waiting for downlink thumbnails from the telescope in the coming hours. All health and status data still looks great. Checkout the Photo Gallery for images taken from the floating platform of the CU payload.

    9/15 7:35am Launch! Excellent wind and a beautiful launch. Picutres will be posted shortly. Initial payload data was retreived via com link. Four studnets are watching payload performance from Ft. Sumner NM.

    9/13 11:57am Waiting for wind to be more favorable for launch. 9/13 7:56am: We are in a holding pattern due to unstable strong surface winds. The balloon has been taken out of the box and is on the ground waiting to be filled.

    9/12/2008 - At 2pm we are will hear more about the weather predictions for tomorrow. There should be a TV crew here to capture the final logistics meeting today and cover the launch tomorrow.

    9/11/2008 - The Mission Readiness Review was completed and due to weather the primary launch opportunity is for Saturday at 7:30pm from the NADA Columbia Scientific Ballooning Facility in Ft. Sumner NM.

    9/10/2008 - The students completed their arrival checkouts last night with a focus check on the night stars.  Everything is looking great.  Commands were verified through HASP and software self tests were completed earlier in the day. The telescope and photometers checked out successfully.

    Other thoughts.
    Ft. Sumner has one stop sign on main street.  We drove 50 miles yesterday for dinner.  Today we will be visiting the grave site of Billy the Kid.  Only one of three town restaurants is open at any one time. The people of Ft. Sumner are very friendly and have been great hosts.

    We are pretty much in a holding pattern until launch keeping up with weather developments and getting ready for 20 hours flight operations support. We have a weather meeting at 2pm today and hopefully the Mission Readiness Review on Thursday afternoon.  Launch, we are told, will likely be on Saturday morning but if the forecast for Saturday looks unfavorable, the launch will be pushed up a day to Friday morning.