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UMD Weather Balloon

Raised toward our $7,000 Goal
99 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on October 14, at 07:59 AM EDT
Project Owners

UMD Weather Balloon


We are a collaborative group within the Atmospheric and Oceanic Science department (AOSC) comprised of UMD undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, adjunct faculty with NOAA and NASA, and weather enthusiasts. We are working to provide our own weather observations for classroom lessons, publicly available forecasts, and development of hands on skills for undergraduate and graduate students.


We are seeking funds for a radiosonde balloon system for the UMD campus as well as portable usage. During a launch, this system will provide live-feeds of atmospheric conditions such as temperature, pressure, relative humidity, wind speed, and wind direction all the way up to over 25,000 feet above the surface of the earth! This data will then be processed, analyzed, archived, and made available to the public. In addition, we will use our data to provide our own in-house forecasts and broadcasts. In an effort to further evolve and enhance our recently established undergraduate atmospheric and oceanic science program, this project would provide numerous students with the following:

  • Hands on skills useful for jobs in both government and private sector (such as the National Weather Service or contracting position)
  • Undergraduate research projects and mandatory senior research projects
  • Skill sets and research experience appealing for graduate school applications

This weather balloon project is a means through which students will become physically engaged with the data they work with by providing them with technical skills along side of their theoretical background.


Weather affects us every day, whether it is how to dress to get to classes and remembering an umbrella, driving safely to and from campus in severe or winter weather, or class cancellation and snowball fight planning. With this project, we will be able to extend our expertise to the campus and community for public safety by utilizing our own observations and forecasts while providing training to those trying to build his or her meteorological career. With your support, you could help us achieve our goal! 


Generally, scientific instrumentation does not come cheap. Fortunately we found a novel, low-cost radiosonde system with specifications and software needed to conduct our campaign within our budget of $7,000! The breakdown is comprised of:

  • Receiver and Software for data collection 
  • 10 high-accuracy reusable radiosondes
  • 25% VAT tax for export from Sweden
  • Dedicated Windows Laptop for field work
  • Helium and miscellaneous supplies

The receiver, software, and computer are a one-time purchase. The radiosondes are recoverable through GPS and reusable, but may become damaged or lost after subsequent uses so we would like to buy 10 now. Finally, helium and additional balloons would be purchased to provide enough supplies for 1-2 years of use.


AOSC Department homepage:

Windsond website:

More information on radiosondes (via NOAA):




Gifts in support of the University of Maryland are accepted and managed by the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc., an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization authorized by the Board of Regents.  Contributions to the University of Maryland are tax deductible as allowed by law.  Please see your tax advisor for details.


Our way
of Thanking You


Weather Enthusiast

Thank you! $10 will buy a one-time use balloon for us to use for launches

14 of 100 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2015


Storm Spotter

$25 will provide enough helium to fill a balloon and lift our instrument high into the sky!

17 of 100 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2015



Donate at or above this level to come witness our initial balloon launch.

26 of 100 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2015



Donate at or above this level to get your name or message flown on one of our balloons.

18 of 100 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2015


Lead Forecaster

$200 will cover the cost of a reusable radiosonde as well as the helium/balloon for one launch.

5 of 20 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2015


Fearless Researcher

A generous donation of $500 would purchase a laptop for portable data collection (or enough helium and balloons for over 10 launches!)

4 of 20 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2015


Principal Investigator

Donors who give $1000 get to release the balloon for one of our first launches.

2 of 10 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2015
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