ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – Athens State University will be partaking in the 2022 Ham Radio Field Day…by letting objects fly from an Athens park.

The University said students from ASU’s American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Student Branch will be launching up to two high-altitude telemetry balloons from Swan Creek Park (98 US-31, next to Athens Middle School). The public is invited to attend the launch, tentatively planned for 10 a.m., Saturday June 25.

Bill Brown, from NASA Artemis Risk Management, will supervise the launches, which may circle the Earth if they get high enough and catch the jet stream! Students on the ASU Mission Control team will track the balloons, which will report GPS coordinates, height, speed, and observations.

It’s a great opportunity to involve our ASM students, local STEM students, and others in a real mission. It’s also good training for our future STEM-SAT1 (Radio-Astronomy CubeSat) launch scheduled for 4th quarter 2023 on a Vaya Space Dauntless rocket.

Athens State Aerospace Systems Management Professor Dr. Wayne McCain

The launch has a dual educational purpose for the University – it will support the training of Aerospace Systems Management students in Mission Control and Communications, as well as serve as a planned mission simulation for a summer course the University is offering. The launch is being conducted in coordination with the local Athens Amateur Radio Club.