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Supplemental Instruction in Mathematics within a Mathematics/Software Engineering Co-Development Project to Dynamically Predict High-Altitude Balloon Paths

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Embedded System Design

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count

12

Page Numbers

22.1355.1 - 22.1355.12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18635

Download Count

20

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Paper Authors

biography

Jim Fischer Oregon Institute of Technology

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Jim Fischer is a Professor of Mathematics at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Oregon. He is currently serving as the Program Director for the OIT Applied Mathematics Program.

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biography

Claude Kansaku Oregon Institute of Technology

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Claude Kansaku is a Professor of Computer Engineering Technology at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Oregon. He is the faculty advisor for the LaunchOIT High-Altitude Balloon Satellite (BalloonSat) Program in affiliation with the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium. He has taught or co-taught BalloonSat workshops, including a National Science Foundation (NSF) Chautauqua Short Course for College Teachers.

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Abstract

Supplemental Instruction in Mathematics within a Mathematics/Software Engineering Co-Development Project to Dynamically Predict High-Altitude Balloon PathsAbstractThis work describes a co-development, student-centered project involving applied mathematicsand software engineering to address a need in the student high-altitude ballooning community. Ateam of four students completed this project as part of the requirements for a year-long JuniorProject Course Sequence in Software Engineering Technology (SET). This task not only walkedthe project team through the development of a rich software deliverable, but it also necessitatedthat the team develop a physics-based mathematical model to perform dynamic predictions inreal-time. The nature of the project required students to demonstrate learning outcomes inadvanced mathematics beyond what they normally see in their required math courses. Toaccomplish this, supplemental mathematics instruction (SMI) was offered to the students andincluded but was not limited to mathematical modeling, differential equations and numericalmethods.This project result is extremely valuable to student ballooning programs, especially those thatlaunch balloons over rugged terrain with minimal secondary roads. At present, several freelyavailable products exist to predict a high-altitude balloon flight path and payload landing site.However, these products typically use hours-old National Weather Service (NWS) sounding datato make static pre-launch predictions only. Such predictions are extremely susceptible tovariance as weather conditions change up until launch as well as during the balloon flight. Theproject used GPS position data acquired through an APRS (Automatic Position ReportingSystem) amateur radio-based system. The project married a tracking function with a dynamicprediction function that utilized the APRS data acquired in real-time. The system continuallyupdated predictions of the balloon flight path and the payload landing site. The team modeled thevertical motion of the balloon using Newton's 2nd Law and solved the corresponding differentialequations by applying a second order Runge-Kutta algorithm. A wind velocity field was initiallycreated using the hours-old NWS sounding data and subsequently updated using the quasi real-time GPS data acquired through the APRS radio system. The updated wind velocity field wasthen used in conjunction with the estimated altitude information to compute the flight path andlanding site predictions.This paper discusses the software engineering and mathematical components of the project aswell as the educational processes that led to a successful project completion. Project success washeavily reliant on the supplemental mathematics instruction and as such, conclusions and lessonslearned concerning the SMI are presented.

Fischer, J., & Kansaku, C. (2011, June), Supplemental Instruction in Mathematics within a Mathematics/Software Engineering Co-Development Project to Dynamically Predict High-Altitude Balloon Paths Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18635

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