Frequently Asked Questions
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FAQ's related to who, what and why of Dropzone!
Dropzone! is a STEM outreach program of Kentucky Space that takes student science from grades 5 - 12 to what is commonly referred to as "nearspace."
Nearspace exists in the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere. At 60,000 or more feet, the environment is very much like that of space - not only are there almost no atmospheric gasses, but it is extremely cold and, like space, a vacuum. At those altitudes an exposed human being would literally be boiled alive. At around 100,000 feet, balloons launched by Dropzone! are only exceeded in altitude by objects in orbit around the Earth.
Yes! Dropzone! has conducted many flights and has the experience to ensure that your science experiments are safely sent up and retrieved. Prior to every launch, the Dropzone! team models a flight path that takes into account the weather for that day and predicts a landing area. It will also take care of the appropriate notifications. In addition, each flight is tracked and the ground location of the payload after its return under a parachute can be determined, usually to within a few feet. Dropzone! has an outstanding record of safety and the sure recovery of the payloads entrusted to it.
According to many projections, the United States will face in the coming years a critical shortage of workers, entrepreneurs and business owners that choose a career in one of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. Because so much of our national wealth can be traced to competency in these areas, it is crucial to our economic future that more students consider these fields. Going to nearspace is a highly interdisciplinary pursuit. It required students to apply their knowledge, demonstrates what can be achieved and reinforces the importance of the related academics at a time when many students are making decisions about their future in the workforce.
There are a number of kinds of experiements that can be conducted in nearspace. The environment is almost a complete vacuum, extremely cold and subject to radiation. Information on the kinds of experiments that can be flown may be found on this page. For more complex research, Dropzone! can offer limited assistance with mission development and payload construction. Let us know about your idea by emailing Wayne Hall or Chris Winfield.
Information related to scheduling a flight with Dropzone!, what people can expect and who to contact.