ESS205 : Access to Space, is a class offered every spring quarter at the University of Washington. The professors, grad students, and several volunteers teach the students the fundamentals of electronics, moving from what is voltage and current, ohm’s law, resistors and capacitors in parallel and series, through 555 timers and op-amps. At this point, the students are free to choose a topic that interests them, and build a sensor package to build and fly on a high altitude balloon.
At the culmination of the class, the student packages are connected to radio telemetry systems provided by the instructors and volunteers of the class. The payloads are connected to the balloon, and it is released from the Moses Lake, WA airport. The team then divides into two groups, a group that will remain at the airport, and monitor telemetry and keep the high gain antennas pointed properly. The second group leaves, and begins the chase to find and recover the balloon after landing.