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Supporting STEM Education Through High Altitude Balloon Platform Development

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conference contribution
posted on 14.07.2020, 10:57 by Zsófia Bodó, Bence Dávid Góczán
Qualified engineers with good theoretical and
hands-on experience are vital for a country’s healthy space
industry. However, if a country lacks of space and aerospace
related higher education opportunities, developing a full
university master or bachelor program requires high effort.
Therefore smaller and local educational projects may play
significant role in talent management and development.
The UPRA Project (Universal Platform for Robotics and
Aerospace) is a student project with an aim to develop a reliable,
widely configurable, low maintenance, high altitude balloon
platform for university research groups. The project not only
offers flight opportunities but also provides hands-on experience
on platform development, payload integration and project
Students who join the project can learn the main principles of
space- and near-spacecraft development. Working on different
subsystems requires different skill-sets which students can
improve with the help of experienced team members and mentors
from the space industry. Since a spacecraft is a complex system,
project members are needed to specialize in different fields of
engineering and science. This is an opportunity for students to
gain confidence and experience in their field of interest of their
later professional career and also helps them to select the proper
path of their academic progress.
UPRA Project also offers flight opportunities for third-party
payloads which require wider project management skills than a
typical development project. To maintain a reliable launch
service flight-planning, logistics, legal paperwork and field work
at the launch event have to be done. All these activities are
performed and organized by team members which increase their
skills in project planning, project management and account
Beside university students the project also aims for the
younger generation to promote STEM fields and reach out for
the next generation of engineers. This goal let the team cooperate
with ‘Kids University’ an event of Budapest University of
Technology and Economics and also with the Space Camp of the
Hungarian Astronautical Society. These partnerships made it
possible to the project to demonstrate balloon launches to more
than 250 young students in the first quarter of 2019.
Unmanned aerial vehicles and high altitude balloons are great
assets of space education as they provide hands on experience
through exciting engineering tasks which could be the base of the
professional career of any student that takes part in the project.



Proceedings of the 3rd Symposium on Space Educational Activities, 2019, pp. 223-227


3rd Symposium on Space Educational Activities, September 16-18, 2019, Leicester, United Kingdom


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Symposium organised by: University of Leicester, UK Students for the Exploration & Development of Space, National Space Academy, ESA Education Office


Nigel Bannister, Áine O’Brien, Alexander Kinnaird

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University of Leicester, UK

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