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With Help From NASA PC Alumna Hopes To Launch Aerospace Career

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With support from a NASA education programme, mechanical-engineering student and PC Alumna Jessica Frantz, hopes to launch an aerospace career.

It might look like someone made it in their garage, but this instrument is a really powerful directional antenna. Fellow students and I at Phoenix College in Arizona designed and built it for ASCEND, a NASA programme that funds science-education projects. In ASCEND, student teams from across the state build scientific instruments to attach to a high-altitude balloon.

Our team’s idea was to live-stream the balloon’s flight. To transmit video from the balloon — which can rise more than 30 kilometres into the air — we chose a 5-gigahertz radio, the kind used to supply Wi-Fi to a hotel. To get such a small, lightweight radio to transmit over long distances, we needed a really strong antenna to pick up the signal. The steel dish is so heavy that we had to attach dumbbell weights as a counterbalance.

Continue reading about Jessica Frantz here.

Photo courtesy of Arsh Nadkarni.

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