Document Type

Undergraduate Project

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Engineering Technology

Committee Chair

Dr. Darci Snowden

Second Committee Member

Dr. Craig Johnson

Third Committee Member

Prof. Charles Pringle

Fourth Committee Member

Prof. Roger Beardsley


A payload box holding a self-rotating camera was constructed to go on a weather balloon that will document the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. A group of physics students, and the paper’s author, are working under Dr. Darci Snowden on the CWU Near Space Observation Team for research dedicated to the eclipse in Oregon. Various projects, including the payload box, are being designed to go up on a high altitude weather balloon. The payload box was designed and constructed to withstand the impact force of falling from 120,000 ft. This was done so the box could be reusable for future weather balloon projects. To achieve this, the box was made from fiberglass and foam with a thickness of 4 cm to withstand impact. The payload box was also designed to hold an “imaging platform” that will hold and rotate a camera using a servo motor. The motor knows where to rotate the camera based on how much light it senses coming from the windows of the payload box. During the launch in August, the camera should be able to communicate to the “ground station” computer so images can be seen in real time. With an expected terminal velocity of 4.39 m/s (14.40 ft/s), the expected impact force the payload box was designed to withstand (while remaining reusable) is 68.03 N (15.29 lbf).