History was made in the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), when the institution's Space Club participated in the 2015 Global Space Balloon Challenge.
In the challenge, they launched 600g balloon that climbed higher into the atmosphere at an ascent rate of 300m/min to a maximum height of about 32km in Space. Alongside the balloon, they performed a pollution experiment, taking the vertical profile measurement of the concentration of Carbon monoxide in the atmosphere, an important experiment in understanding Global Warming and Climate research.
The Global Space Balloon Challenge (GSBC) is the coming together of people around the world to simultaneously fly high altitude balloons from every corner of the globe, celebrating an age where anyone can reach the edge of space for a few hundred dollars and a few weekends of work.
Being the only participant from West Africa with a successful launch, the feat was achieved after few weeks of preparation. Students were divided into teams to work on different aspect of the project, a weather prognosis team which worked on designing a flow chart to predict the weather, payload design and tracking prognosis team which developed the payload for the balloon which comprises of a camera that took the video coverage of the Earth as the balloon ascends, a tracking device and the sensor for measuring Carbon monoxide. The parachute that ensured safe delivery of the balloon back to Earth was developed using umbrella materials.
“Our aim is to provide a platform in which students can expand their knowledge in Space Science and Applications preparing them to become leaders in the sector tomorrow,” said Professor. J. Akinyede, Director, Centre for Space Research and Application of the University.
The Club, which consists of about 70 Undergraduate students of various departments in the University operates under the Centre for Space Research and Application of the University, with a mission of raising the next generation of Space leaders. The club consists of various project groups including Astronomy, Cosmology, Global Navigation Satellite System, Robotics, Space Engineering etc.
“We are a team passionate about science, a group of like-minded people, who come together to get things done, sharing ideas that leads to innovations and research. We hope in the next few years we will be able to develop a PocketQube Satellite to launch into Space” said the President of the club, a 400 level student of Meteorology and Climate Science in the University.