This project consists of preparing a mission called SPIDER (Scientific Platform for Instruments Detecting High-Energy Radiation) whose goal it is to measure cosmic muon flux as a function of altitude. In a probe suspended underneath a high-altitude balloon is the COMRADE KMP-1 muon detector, a custom-built optimisation of the AMD5 model sold by astroparticelle.it. The probe also includes a custom datalogger (a device which logs atmospheric parameters) for the muon detector, two cameras and two GPS-trackers. As well as the scientific and technical challenges, we also handle organisational, legal and financial aspects as much as possible, however, we are constrained by our legal status as minors. As final product, we will launch the weather balloon and publish a paper in which we discuss the theoretical basis of cosmic radiation and report on our work on SPIDER.

Work on the SPIDER project started in September 2019 and the first balloon was initially to be launched in May 2020. Due to COVID-19, the launch had to be postponed by a year.

Updates

  • 4 May 2021 — It was decided to launch a second balloon before the end of the schoolyear, carrying an upgraded muon detector, as well as a home-made datalogger.
  • 29 March 2021 — We finally managed to retrieve the box containing the cameras & detector by climbing the tree and cutting the rope. Some of the electronics got damaged in the process.
  • 25 March 2021 — Successful launch of the first SPIDER balloon. After a relatively short flight, we were able to locate the box in a forest near Hermeskeil (Germany) using a GPS beacon. Unfortunately, the parachute had gotten caught in a tree about 15m above ground.

Team

  • Christophe LUIS
  • Noah STEVENS

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