Balloon Launch Assessment Directive for Everyone (BLADE)
BLADE is the quickest, most tangible way for students to gain industry experience. Since 2019, every academic year, each team of students will undergo a year-long design competition against their peers and follow a simplified and hands-on design process to achieve a high-altitude balloon (HAB) mission of their choosing. The winning team(s) will launch, collect data, and recover their BalloonSat from the HAB launch. The experience gained during BLADE allows members to be technically and programmatically prepared for Bronco Space’s main CubeSat projects and acts as a stepping stone and pipeline for future leadership positions in industry, Bronco Space, and other engineering projects at Cal Poly Pomona.
The Balloon Launch Assessment Directive for Everyone (BLADE) is a program intended to provide inexperienced students the opportunity to learn the processes of designing, building, testing, and launching a BalloonSat and HAB vehicle to enhance their engineering skills.
Each team is provided resources and training from seasoned members of Bronco Space to perform the necessary tasks to complete their mission, bringing on industry experience, textbook references, and sponsored manufacturing. As of Spring 2023, BLADE has completed 3 successful high-altitude balloon flights, with pertinent data collected by winning BalloonSat teams, AirSat and BatSat.
Above & Background: High-Altitude Balloon Popping at Sept. 2021 Balloon Launch
Below: BLADE Nov. 2021 Launch
Balloon Launch Vehicle (BLV)
The Balloon Launch Vehicle (BLV) acts as a payload fairing for BalloonSats, bringing each payload to 100,000 feet. Each team designs payload attachments according to BLV constraints and develops testing, and integration plans prior to launch day.
Left: High-Altitude Balloon Launch Deployment
Below: Balloon Launch Vehicle Mission Configuration & Exploded View
AirSat Mission: Study muons (μ) that come from cosmic rays utilizing the primary Cosmic Watch payload
BATSat (Balloon Aerosol Tracking Satellite) Mission: Collect data on aerosols and aerosol dynamics inside clouds
Right: AirSat (2021) Exploded View
Below: BATSat (2021) Configuration