RSC Cyber Students Fly High with High Altitude Balloon Launch Published June 6, 2018

Rose State students launching a high altitude balloonCollege is about more than just books and class time. For a team of Rose State Cyber Security students, college involves various hands-on projects, including launching a High Altitude Balloon (HAB). On Saturday, May 19, the Rose State team released a large latex weather balloon from Choctaw Creek Park with various measurement tools programmed by the students. The purpose of the launch was to send a payload to near space altitudes, as high as 100,000 feet, and gather data that can be analyzed when back on the ground. 

High altitude balloon flying on a blue skyThe Rose State team of seven students and four professors/advisors called their project RHAB2, short for RSC High Altitude Balloon 2, the second High Altitude Balloon launched by the students. RHAB, the first balloon launched by RSC students in May 2017, reached an altitude of 101,820 feet and carried a single Raspberry Pi computer equipped with various sensors. For RHAB2, the team decided to include two additional Raspberry Pi computers to the 2018 payload, in addition to a Flight Computer, radio and antenna, and various cameras and sensors to capture and log information.  

The helium-filled balloon, inflated to about 8 feet in diameter just before launch, was rigged to include a 60” parachute, radar reflector and Styrofoam payload container. From the balloon to the payload container the rigging is 50 feet in length. 

After a successful launch, the students and professors gave chase.  

With a slower ascent than RHAB, RHAB2 only reached around 86,000 feet before bursting, 14,000 feet shy of their altitude target. Due to a slower rate of climb, the flight took much longer than originally expected before touching down three miles north of Madill, OK. 

Even though RHAB2 did not reach the 100,000 feet target, and flew much longer than anticipated, all involved would call the project a success. While still processing the data, the RSC students understand there is much to learn from the project, and hope to incorporate that data into the next project, possibly an RHAB3.

For more information on the Rose State College Cyber Security program, visit