Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project (NEBP)

Grants and Contracts Details


UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY STATEMENT OF WORK The Montana Space Grant Consortium has proposed a large-scale coordinated nationwide project for observing the 2023 annual solar eclipse and 2024 total solar eclipse via a network of scientific balloon payloads or radiosondes. The program is called the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project (NEBP). University of Kentucky intends to participate in the project as one of the “Pod” team leads for a region. This project will be a multi-year effort with a significant amount of effort focused on developing and testing the flight procedures, recruiting and training student teams, managing flights and science analysis, and reporting. Workshop for Pod leads Montana Space Grant will hold a workshop focused on curriculum refinement for all pod leads. This will involve final coordination of our curriculum for a hands-on instructional workshop that demonstrates baseline equipment and data analysis to be used by all participating flight groups. Pods Leads will refine all flight procedures and current analysis methods. In addition, this workshop will refine the basic instructional material to be used by the pod leads for their regional Pod workshops. We plan to send two individuals to this “Pod Lead” workshop. As our “Pod Lead”, Sean Bailey or Suzanne Smith will attend with one other member of our staff. After the workshop, the pod leads will begin testing and troubleshooting the curriculum for final implementation. Regional Pod Workshop In-tandem with local testing and refinement of analysis methods, we will begin preparations for hosting the 6-10 teams assigned to our pod. As Pod Lead, we will host a workshop for all accepted teams in our region. The workshop contents will include an introduction to the basic radiosonde system, a hands-on walkthrough of flight procedures, instructions on how to successfully schedule and launch the payload and instructions on data analysis. This workshop is tentatively scheduled for May 2023 at University of Kentucky. This will give each team needed experience for completing a successful radiosonde field campaign. The entire University of Kentucky group will be on hand to provide instruction and support during the workshop. Support for Regional Pod members Once the teams have returned to their own institutions, we will continue to support them as they prepare for the field campaign flights for the October 14, 2023 annular eclipse and then ultimately the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. We will have a monthly teleconference for all members of our regional pod. In addition, we will be available to all groups via email. Instructional materials, designed by the whole NEBP team, will be made available online to all pod members. Testing and Partial Eclipse 2023 Before the Total Solar Eclipse in 2024, there will be an annular solar eclipse on October 14, 2023. This event will give all flight teams a great opportunity to gather their initial dataset and explore analysis methods before the main event on April 8, 2024. There will be at least a partial eclipse (>67%) over most of the southern United States during this event, including portions of Western Kentucky near Paducah. All flight teams from our pod will complete coordinated field campaign flights during this opportunity. The University of Kentucky group will be available for any support needed by the flight groups during their field campaigns. Total Eclipse 2024 Flight Preparations and Data Analysis As the April 2024 Eclipse approaches, the University of Kentucky team will work with the flight teams to find a suitable launch location. We will also continue to support our pod teams. Program Reporting University of Kentucky will provide all required reporting to Montana Space Grant through the course of the project. At present, this includes monthly check-ins and bi-annual reporting with a completed final report due at the end of the program in 2025. Specific reporting requirements will be determined.
Effective start/end date11/15/2111/14/23


  • Montana State University: $128,236.00


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