Registration is underway for Civil Air Patrol’s second National High-Altitude Balloon Challenge, with entry open to one cadet team from a cadet or composite squadron to compete in developing as many experiments as will fit into a 50-milliliter capsule weighing no more than 40 grams.
Registration continues until midnight April 30. Capsules will be shipped to the teams May 2. Teams will ship test and control capsules together with flight manifests, on July 22 to Anderson, Indiana.
The test capsules to be launched there Aug. 6 as payloads of high-altitude weather balloons climbing to about 100,000 feet.
The livestreamed event will also include an Indiana Wing search-and-rescue exercise to track and retrieve the payloads after landing. The test and control capsules will then be repacked and shipped back to the squadrons ,where the cadets will complete postflight experiment analyses.
Several criteria will be judged to determine national winners, such as hand-drawn and digital team mission patches, individual science experiment report slides, and overall program documentary videos. The award subcategories will mirror the winning categories and prizes for the 2021 challenge, won by a team of four Massachusetts Wing cadets – two each from the Bridgewater State University Composite Squadron and Goddard Cadet Squadron.
Col. Joe Kittinger, famed high-altitude balloon space scientist, will again serve as the event ambassador, contributing another $5,000 prize and the Kittinger Cup to the cadet team with the highest cumulative score from all categories of the challenge.
“I care about science and the need for youth to get interested in science,” Kittinger said. “Our country’s future leaders are found in CAP squadrons where young people are learning science and are encouraged to do their best and make significant contributions to our nation.”
Capt. Bob Roberts, South Carolina Wing director of aerospace education, and Susan Mallett, Civil Air Patrol education outreach coordinator, are program co-directors again this year, working alongside at least 25 CAP volunteers from around the nation.