It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s the Devil Dragon Weather Balloon!

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s the Devil Dragon Weather Balloon!

While all eyes are on the skies (with special eclipse-viewing glasses) around the country, a group of SCH seniors will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience as part of the NASA-sponsored Nationwide Eclipse Balloon Project (NEBP). Calling themselves Devil Dragons, Cameron Lyon, Shaun Gupte, Karina Chan-van der Helm, Devin Gibson, and teachers Alissa Sperling and Peter Randall, alongside their partners from Drexel University, have been preparing for this day for over a year. They have worked through the summer and sacrificed weekends and vacations to get ready for the big day.

Driving into the night after a robotics tournament in Lehigh on Saturday, the SCH team will head to a YMCA camp in Old Forge, NY to be in the path of eclipse totality on Monday. Timing is everything with this project, and the team has conducted several tests to know exactly when and how to launch a car-sized weather balloon into the atmosphere, loaded with unique experiments they have designed referred to as “payloads.” Tracking the course of the balloon, which reached a staggering 100,000 in an earlier test conducted in TX, is an all-boots-on-the-ground effort. Immediately after the balloon is launched, the Devil Dragons will activate GPS locating devices to recover the payloads once the balloon lands. The team hopes to retrieve data, images, and video recording atmospheric changes as well as insect behavior during solar eclipses.

Earlier this week, Wakisha Bailey of CBS News interviewed the crew as they completed last-minute preparations for the big day.  

  • See the CBS clip here
  • Want to read more? See the previous story here.
  • Follow Devil Dragons on the big day here on YouTube @DevilDragonNEBP

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