Students of Ventspils University College Obtain a First Place in International Event for High-altitude Balloons


The project of the electronic engineering students of the Ventspils University College (VUC) has obtained the title “Best Design” in the international event for high-altitude balloons Global Space Balloon Challenge. The project was carried out by Bachelor and Master students of study programme “Electronics”, as well as alumni, including Gints Dreifogels, Kaspars Prūsis, Atvars Nikolajevs, Pēteris Pitāns un Mikus Freimanis.

On August 17, the balloon with a primary payload IRBE-3 was launched from Ventspils airport. The flight lasted for just under two hours, and the balloon blew up at the altitude of 14 km (it was later concluded that the expected altitude of 20 km was not reached because of the low quality material of the balloon), later landing around Talsi. Afterwards, students were able to find the balloon with the primary payload and retrieve all of the information – flight video and photographies, and sensory data (atmospheric temperature, pressure and humidity; measurements of gas levels) – from the memory card.

In the nomination “Best Design” the evaluation criteria were comprehensive – the structure of the primary payload, the electronic systems, the experiment and the final report of the team. Members of the team Gints and Kaspars revealed that, from the very start of developing the project, they had hoped for success in this nomination. All the effort and hours invested in the project have finally paid off. The event had another nomination – “Best Educational Initiative”.

“This year there were two teams from Latvia. One from VUC and the other one – our followers, who for several times turned to us to seek consultations on questions related to this international event” revealed Gints, one of the team members. Both he and Kaspars emphasised that participation in these kinds of events helps promote VUC and electronic engineering studies. They hope that more and more young people will take up studying electronics.

The international event for high-altitude balloons “Global Space Balloon Challenge” gathers enthusiasts in amateur satellite technologies and space exploration from all over the world, encouraging to develop near space missions. VUC students have been participating in this event for three years in a row. In 2015, the project of VUC students obtained the second place in the nomination “Best Science Experiment”.

IRBE-3 was supported by Ventspils University College, SIA “Ventspils lidosta” and SIA “GASCHEMA”. The team members also wish to express their gratitude towards all of the people, who were supporting them at the event venue and who ere following all of the team’s activities.

VUC congratulates IRBE-3 team on their achievements and wishes them to become even more innovative in the future!