Another great start to our PENS program. The Marion County Community Foundation graced our program with a $1000 grant. This was used to purchase a higher quality scale so that the students can accurately measure the weight of each of our pico-satellites. This new equipment replaces a cheap fish scale. We were also awarded a $900 grant through the school system. These grants are what keep us going and we are forever thankful to these organizations for supporting our children through the PENS program.

The Pella Homeschool is represented by Noah Emmert. Noah is interested in photography and is no stranger to the PENS organization. Noah has flown Go-Pro cameras on previous flights and has been in charge of CamSats on most of our missions. Noah's experiment this year, is to fly a 3D camera. His 3DsAT will record the first 30 minutes of PENS 7 and if it looks promising, a pic-axe circuit will be built to record the entire flight. We will probably wait until PENS-9 to fly the new modification.
3DsAT ready for the lens covers.
Sara heps Noah by making an adjustment.

Pella Community 8th Grade will study meteorology and astronomy during the 4th quarter of the school year. They will be flying a weather station into near space to measure the temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure at different altitudes. Their WxSat will collect and store these three pieces of data, every 15 seconds of the entire flight. The students will then retrieve and graph all the data so they can easily see the changes as altitude increases and decreases.
David is new to the PENS program and is responsible for the assemblage and testing of the 8th grade WxSat.

The Pella Christian High School Senior Physics class has been working on 3 different experiments since early November.  The lead experiment is to fly a Geiger counter into near space and see if they can measure the Pfotzer Maximum phenomena somewhere in the 40,000 ft range.  This is the region of highest primary and secondary high energy particles.  They will also be looking at the overall ratio of cosmic energy at altitude versus ground level.
Our "Life Sciences" team will fly frog eggs to be exposed to the higher cosmic ray and UV energy residing in Near Space.  They plan on controlling the egg temperature above freezing by using a high tech resistive blanket and special insulation.  A control experiment will be stay on the ground and the team will analyze the hatched eggs for any statistical significant visual anomalies.
The "Imaging" team will fly a GO Pro 3 camera pointed to the horizon.  They will be looking for stars/planets as well as interpreting the thickness of the atmosphere by the color scatter density.  Hoping to find that one COOL picture is always a goal of our Imaging teams.....

The Science Guys
The Science Guys are going to try to measure the electromagnetic force of earth at different altitudes. Above, Joe, Colten, and Adam are cutting the space blanket to cover the box that will contain their electromagnetic detector.

Balloon Riders
Balloon Rider 7 is a stoneware, kiln god, whistle, necklace. Balloon Rider 8 is a Raku, cyclops, kiln god, whistle, necklace


PENS 7 was launched on May 6, 2014. It was quite windy with gusts up to 20 mph. We were launching from the West side of the Pella Middle School and the building offered a little protection. The chosen experiments were the GliderSat, EMFsAT, and the 3DsAT. It did not take long to assemble the flight string and once the balloon was filled (11 lbs 4 oz of lift), the Balloon Meister was in a hurry to launch.

The black line indicates the predicted flight path and the red line shows the actual flight path. Pretty good software.

One of our experiments was to launch a glider at about 85,000 feet to see how far it would fly. We calculated that it was released at 88,000 feet and the above map shows where the glider was launched and where it was located, the next day. Gerry Hanson noticed the glider while he was cultivating a field


To the left is video taken from the GliderSat. We have video of the first hour of flight but did not get video of the glider launch. Part of the glider support broke, shortly after launch, but it still performed well and was able to make its' epic jouney.

Landing Site

We landed in a corn field right next to a hog confinment building. Almost identical to PENS-1. Click the picture to watch video of us finding the flight string.

3D Sat

Put on your 3D glasses and watch video from the 3D camera for the first 30 minutes of the flight.