Oldenburg, In. — As part of studying the atmosphere in Freshman Biology, the students at Oldenburg Academy launched a Near Space Balloon into the stratosphere on Wednesday, November 29. The students, led by their teacher Steven Hensley, built a payload for the balloon that contained a flight computer to collect data, a GoPro camera to record video, and a GPS tracker so they could track the balloons movements. The students researched and planned optimal launch dates based on weather patterns and predictions. They also worked with the Federal Aviation Administration to file the appropriate paperwork to make sure the balloon and payload were FAA compliant. The balloon is filled with helium and released with the payload. As it gains altitude, the balloon expands until it bursts. Once it bursts, a parachute is deployed to bring it back down safely. The balloon traveled 119 miles and landed in a farm field near Washington Courthouse, Ohio. It reached an altitude of 100,279 feet and traveled up to 214 mph. It withstood temperatures down to -122.18 degrees Fahrenheit. The students will continue to analyze the data they collected as they learn more about the Earth’s atmosphere.