Gannon University Team Receives National Recognition
Posted: March 11, 2015
A successful near-space balloon flight this weekend carried a
payload that included a scientific measuring device designed by a
Gannon University team NBC News reported.
The device, designed by a Gannon University team to observe
characteristics of cosmic rays, was part of the balloon's payload,
which also included a sensor designed by students from the Florida
Space Institute at the University of Central Florida.
The device was constructed as part of NASA's Undergraduate
Student Instrument Program (USIP). Gannon University is one of 10
universities in the United States that was accepted into inaugural
year of the program, which is geared toward developing the science,
technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at the
The 331,000-cubic-foot helium balloon that carried the device
was launched on Sunday from Pinal Airpark, northwest of Tucson,
Arizona. The balloon rose to an altitude of 105,000 feet, and
served as a test-bed for the kind of balloon flights that could
soon take passengers into near space.
Nicholas Conklin, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, was
part of the Gannon faculty team, along with Wookwon Lee, Ph.D.,
associate professor, electrical and computer engineering, and
physics instructor Perry Hilburn, M.S.M.E., that oversaw the
"This balloon flight was the culmination of two years of labor
by twenty Gannon University students, spanning seven different
majors, and three faculty members," Conklin said. " I am grateful
to have had the opportunity to work on a project that is
scientifically interesting, measuring protons and helium nuclei in
cosmic rays, and has helped prepare so many students to enter the
workforce with experience working as part of a large team to
successfully complete a complex project."
More information about the project can be seen here.