Weber State University, HARBOR

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HARBOR Introduction Video by the Standard Examiner

Check out the fabulous video about our program in thie article in the Standard Examiner on April 13, 2015: "Weber State balloon project tests air for pollutants." (It is about 18 minutes long, but really introduces our students and what we do.) 


The HARBOR program was started at WSU by Dr. Shane Larson (who now resides in the Chicago area) in the autumn of 2007. We have averaged about 5 flights a year and have flown in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and Kansas.

Dr. Larson modeled the program after the Montana State University BOREALIS balloon team. He was later joined by Dr. John Armstrong and then Dr. John Sohl. The program is now run by Dr. Sohl.

For starters, you can check out our FaceBook page.

A few slides as a pdf taken from a presentation. (1.6MB)

A Typical HARBOR Flight System:

The "standard" HARBOR flight system.

The images below will give you a sense of our program, you can find more images by visiting the Photo Gallery link in the left column. Click on the images below for a MUCH larger and higher resolution version.

The HARBOR flight team about ready to release a flight in 2012 at the Duchesne airport and the Rydman Flight Facility. (Image taken by Sheri Trbovich.)  HARBOR Flight Team

A view from the HARBOR near-spacecraft cameras as it rises above the Duchesne airport and moves out over Duchesne, UT:

HARBOR Ascending

A view from the HARBOR near-spacecraft just before burst, May 28, 2012:

HARBOR Pan 2012

A view as seen from the HARBOR near-spacecraft on the way back down under parachute, July 19, 2009. All the little light-colored squares are oil/gas wells and the connecting gravel roads:

HARBOR Descending

Some HARBOR flight data examples.

Ozonesonde data from June 2, 2013:

HARBOR Ozonesonde data

Atmospheric particulates (aerosols, particulate matter (PM)) as measured on July 30, 2011:

HARBOR Dust Monitor

Videos (Most are older because, at first, we were trying to figure out what what going on during flight.)

An old 2009 video introducing HARBOR made by Ron Proctor. Shows a tethered flight next to the Science Lab and features Dr. John Armstrong near the end.  (3 min 25 sec)

 A 50 second 2010 video showing dramatic turbulence in the stratosphere.  

A 35 second video from 2010 showing the violence when the balloon bursts and the first 30 seconds of descent. 

Video showing expansion of the balloon as it rises. Taken on August 3, 2009, it also shows a beautiful view of burst (including slow motion) and the recovery team driving up and opening up the packages. (7 minutes 30 seconds) 

A 57 second flight simulation made in Blender by Ron Proctor for a student project.

Long video! Nearly 19 minutes of what it looks like to fly up on the HARBOR package. Lots of motion, lots of ground views.  (Flight on July 19, 2009)