Near space


Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland,
Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada

The Program
The Payload


About the Project

The Grenfell Upper-Atmosphere and Near-space Observatory - GUANO - is a project organized by Dr. Doug Forbes of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.  It involves sending high altitude balloons about 30-35 km into the stratosphere as a platform for conducting experiments in a near-space environment.  The primary aim of the project is to involve students in the planning, construction, and flying of experiments to study the nature of high-energy cosmic rays

As a result of the project, students will gain direct experience with how modern collaborative research is done.  They will be exposed to concepts of astrophysics and particle physics as they attempt to answer some of the most fundamental questions about the world in which we live.   ...more


High School Camp Launches GUANO-3

The third flight in the GUANO series was launched 27 April 2010 during the School for Nuclei and AstroPhysics (SNAP). This was the first of a (hopefully) annual camp of regional Grade 11 students who were given an intense introduction to cosmic rays and particle physics, along with the opportunity to launch a GUANO package.

Due to windy conditions, a smaller balloon was used, and the payload reached just over 23 km before the signal was lost, however good data were received. Results.

GUANO-2 Reaches New Heights!

The second GUANO package was launched 9 July 2009 using a much larger balloon. A faster rate of climb allowed it to reach more than 35 km in almost 4 hours, before it burst and descended rapidly. We were able to track the package during its descent to a height of 3 km.

The graph above shows the tracking data for the two balloon packages. By coincidence, the two flights were of almost identical duration!

GUANO-1  First Flight a Success!

On 22 June, 2009, the first flight in the GUANO Cosmic Ray series was launched here on the Grenfell College campus.  The 700-gram cosmic ray detector and telemetry package flew on a sounding balloon filled with helium. 

After a nearly four-hour flight, GUANO-1 reached a peak altitude of about 26 km before the balloon burst (having swollen to a diameter of over 4 m!).  At that height, the temperature was -50 C.  An observer riding on the balloon would have easily seen the curvature of the Earth beneath a black sky.

The GUANO team plans to fly at least one more flight this summer.  We hope to use a larger volume balloon capable of reaching an altitude of over 30 km. 

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