Traverse City, Mich.— Northern Michigan Explorers successfully launched and recovered a mini-satellite into the stratosphere last Sunday as part of the Mission One STEM Career Expo at the Northwestern Michigan College Aero Park Campus.
The small satellite (called a Cansat) was carried 100,000 feet into the atmosphere with the help of a weather balloon. Winds carried the Cansat west of Traverse City then redirected to the east and came to rest in a wooded area just east of Lake City. The satellite carried a video camera and instruments to measure ozone and radiation. At 100,000 feet the Cansat travelled considerably higher than typical airplane traffic and the students could see the curvature of the earth.
The satellite launch was orchestrated by a Boy Scout Explorer Post and part of the Michigan Space Weekend that was held in Traverse City. The scouts have been working on the project for months and coordinated activities with California-based Magnitude.io.
The satellite launch was held Sunday morning when the planned Saturday launch had to be scrubbed due to cloud cover. Former NASA astronaut Greg Johnson conducted the countdown for the launch and was on hand to encourage the scouts.
Mission One: Career Expo was attended by hundreds of student and highlighted northern Michigan career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Career options displayed included aviation, drones, science, astronomy, chemistry and engineering.
Event partners included Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, ATLAS Space Operations, Bill Marsh Auto, Black Star Farms, Newton’s Road, Casis, The Dennos Museum Center and Boy Scouts of America Exploring program.