Target Field Becomes NASA Launching Pad
A weather balloon aims to lure students into math and science careers and beyond.
Students studying aerospace and engineering at the University of Minnesota were invited to launch a weather balloon at Target Field before the Twins game Sunday. Professors say the students learn technical engineering skills that'll be useful with space shuttles.
Space shuttles are what some of the students hope to one day build.
NASA funds projects like these, which rely on weather balloons instead of rockets, to prompt interest in space careers. Besides weather and flight information, launching the balloon to 80,000 feet will also produce video of the autographed Twins baseball being launched with the payload.
Minnesota native and astronaut Bob Cabana, who now heads the Kennedy Space Center, was on hand to sign autographs and encourage the students. Cabana flew four shuttle missions and spent 910 hours in space.
The near-space mission launched by the students was a success. The payload, including video of the autographed baseball, was expected to land across the St. Croix river in Wisconsin. Students will use GPS to find it.
Video of the launch and the descent will be available at www.twinsbaseball.com.