Press Releases

PA Cyber students to launch weather balloon at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Sep 20, 2017

During its annual Zoo Rendezvous, a back-to-school event, PA Cyber Charter School science club students, in cooperation with the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, will launch a weather balloon at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Media coverage is welcomed.

Dubbed Project Archimedes, the launch involves a high-altitude, helium-filled, latex balloon measuring 5-6 feet in diameter. It will carry a payload that includes a camera, a flight computer with temperature and pressure sensors, and a GPS locator up through the atmosphere and send back information on atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speed, according to Erin Butler, a PA Cyber School teacher and science club advisor.

She expects that at about 2 to 3 hours after its launch, at an altitude of approximately 90,000 feet, the balloon will burst, and send the payload parachuting to earth about 20 to 50 miles east of the zoo. Once the payload is recovered, its data, along with location, will be relayed to the ground via ham radio.

Specifics for the launch:

When:  1 p.m. Tuesday, September 20, 2017

Where:  Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

Attendees: PA Cyber science club, photography club and newspaper club, in addition to families and students at the Zoo Rendezvous

Parking for media:  Zoo’s Education Complex

Logistics: Meet Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium manager of public & media relations Tracy Gray in the lobby, and she will escort you to the launch site in the Jungle Odyssey area of the park

“What started out as an idea from one student grew when the rest of the club desired to do a real science project. A weather balloon launch is a big undertaking, but the club worked together to research and designed our project,” said Erin Butler, a PA Cyber teacher and moderator for the club.





Media Contact

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About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.