1, 2012 Santa Barbara, Calif.
Anacapa Near Space Exploration Club (ANSEC) at Anacapa School
will reach for the stars once again with its second near space
probe, Anacapa Amateur High-Altitude Balloon 2 (AAHAB-2). Last
year, the high school club sent a payload of sensors and a camera
to 91,122 feet above Californias Central Coast and
recovered it successfully. This year, the team has set even more
ambitious goals including a live video downlink, high-definition
recording, radiation sensors and live radio telemetry.
was designed and built entirely by Anacapa students Grayson
Baggiolini, Julio Bernal, Alex Carlson, Christian Eckert and
Genevieve Hatfield under the supervision of their faculty advisor
Levi Maaia. The team has been working on the project since the
beginning of the school year. If all goes according to plan, the
students will launch the probe in the early morning hours of
Saturday, May 5th.
Grayson Baggiolini adjusts equipment
during a test of the capsule's live video transmitter.
are hoping the winds will cooperate and we will be able to launch
from West Beach in Santa Barbara, said Carlson, an
18-year-old senior and the missions flight director. However,
if the weather models call for a southerly flow, we may have to
use an alternate launch site near Paso Robles.
along with Hatfield, a 15-year-old sophomore, studied for and
passed the Federal Communications Commission exam for their
amateur radio licenses. This certification allows the group
access to special wireless spectrum allocations reserved for
radio experimentation and scientific purposes. By building off
ANSECs inaugural AAHAB-1 probe, the AAHAB-2 team is hoping
to downlink live video and atmospheric data from the probe
throughout its two- to three-hour flight through the stratosphere
and into the freezing, dark daytime skies of near space.
the diversity of systems and the complexity of the electronics on
board, the budget for the entire project was less than $2,000, a
figure made possible by the students efficient design and
technical ingenuity. For 11th graders Bernal, 17 and Eckert,16,
this is the second high-altitude probe project they have been
part of at Anacapa.
year, I mainly worked on the capsule design, explained
Bernal. This year, I really wanted to learn about the
electronics, so I built an electronic Geiger counter to measure
and record radiation levels throughout the flight.
Saturdays flight, the students, as well as amateur
balloonists and radio enthusiasts around the country, will track
the crafts progress using data received through the
Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS), a worldwide digital
wireless system which can receive digital radio signals in places
where cellular phones and traditional Wi-Fi cannot.
information, including links to live flight tracking on Google
Maps and the groups Facebook page, can be found online
School is an independent, co-educational, WASCaccredited,
college preparatory day school for students in grades 7-12.
Founded in 1981 by Headmaster Gordon Sichi, Anacapa enjoys the
best student-teacher ratio of any school, public or private, in
Santa Barbara at its historic campus located in the heart of the
Santa Barbara civic center.
Levi C. Maaia