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Mission Accomplished: A View From Space

Three Eldorado High School students known as the "Space Cowboys" spent months constructing a weather balloon probe successfully launching it Tuesday to the edge of space.

In an open field to the side of Eldorado High School "Space Cowboys" Tres Whitten, Reed Hariman and Michael Bilbrey watched their experiment blast off, with clearance from the FAA, to 90,000 feet into the air above the Earth's atmosphere at the edge of space.

"We had everything complete before Christmas and then we realized we needed to switch to ethermet radios instead of what we were using. So we had to rewrite all of our code to work with ethernet," Space Cowboy Mission Control Operator Michael Bilbrey said.

It took months of planning and complicated mathematical equations. Each student contributed to the design and wrote programs for each computer inside mission control. A signal from the weather balloon transmitted data including G-force, altitude, wind speeds and temperature. Along with the probe the students constructed a satellite to track the probe on its journey above the Earth.

"I mean I've learned a lot of electrical engineering stuff, but I've also learned you know it takes time, perseverance. You can't just expect it to happen you have to work at it. We've gone from high to rock bottom and then come right back up and then anything's possible you just got to set your mind to it and work hard," Space Cowboy Satellite Operator Tres Whitten said.

On the way back to the Earth's surface the weather balloon landed ninety miles away from the launch site. After traveling for two hours, reaching speeds exceeding 100 mph, and reaching an outside temperature of forty degrees below zero. With that the Space Cowboys happily declare this mission accomplished. 

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