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Students in the Physics & Earth-Space Sciences deparment have made UIndy history, launching and tracking its first high-altitude research balloon.

“We tried several different experiments,” physics & math double major Austin Hauser says. “One of my main responsibilities was to track the balloon altitude and follow in a chase car with a GPS receiver while the balloon was in the air and find its landing point.”

The balloon flight lasted two hours and 20 minutes and included experiments such as: How are plant seeds and various foods affected by exposure to a near-space environment? How does high-altitude radiation affect photographic film and paper? And which mobile phone provider, AT&T or Verizon, gets better reception at various heights?

The tests were designed to encourage the students to think creatively and design experiments within limitations, which in this case included FAA limits on the size and weight of objects sent aloft.

“With UIndy being a smaller school, I knew I would be able to jump right in and get involved,” said Austin.

“But getting involved in the balloon launch during my first semester on campus surpassed even my expectations,” Austin says.

“Ultimately I chose UIndy because of its size and personal attention, and I’ve not been disappointed.”

More experiments are coming next year. Interested? Contact department chair Dr. Tim Duman (317-788-3311,

Students work on their experiment

High-altitude experiments were designed by students in astronomy and meteorology courses

Physics & Earth-Space Science

Majors and academic areas include physics, earth-space science, earth-space science and physics teaching, environmental geology, environmental science, and laboratory instrumentation. Dual degree programs are available in electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering, thanks to a joint program with Purdue Uni-versity at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI).

Students enrolled in these programs will obtain a BS in Physics from the University of Indianapolis, plus a BS in electrical, chemical, or mechanical engineering from Purdue.