COSGC Virtual Balloon Payload Skill Building Modules
(must be COSGC affiliate to participate)

These modules will guide you through the skill-building activities of a balloon payload workshop.

If you have any questions or run into problems as you build, email 

In order to launch your payload with the COSGC fall 2023 flight, you must have completed the payload build by October 27th, 2023 & sign up for a Flight Readiness Review.  Launch day is November 11, 2023 (location TBD).

FRR Slide Template

 Sequenced Modules - Must be completed in Order:  

This is the first module that will introduce you to the Balloon Payload program, and the process that you will follow to build your own Balloon Payload. This will include the architecture of a Balloon Payload, what is required of you during each step of the process, how to communicate within the program and verifying you have everything in the kit sent to you.


Welcome to Balloon Payloads Module

Welcome to Balloon Payloads Slides

This is the second module that will introduce you to the basics of soldering. This will include knowing various soldering tools, safety of soldering, learning how to make a good soldering joint, and doing some hands-on soldering. You will learn to solder by building and soldering a circuit with blinking lights.


Soldering 101 Module

Soldering 101 Slides

This is the third module that will introduce you to Arduino. In this module you will be learning about the Arduino board and software. This will allow you to write programs and upload them to your board. This will in turn be used to control any sensors or additional applications you wish to add to your Balloon Payload.


Arduino Introduction Module

Arduino Introduction Slides

High altitude balloons are effective tools in conducting experiments and measuring data in the atmosphere. So how do we gather this data? Through various sensors that can measure different aspects of the atmosphere and the flight. This module will help you learn about our first sensor, the temperature sensor and how to incorporate the sensor onto our Arduino board.


Sensors Part 1 Module

Sensors Part 1 Slides

Now that we know how various sensors can measure different aspects of the atmosphere and the flight, this module will help you learn about additional sensors we need in addition to the temperature sensors we already reviewed and incorporating all the sensors onto our Arduino board.


Sensors Part 2 Module

Sensors Part 2 Slides


In this module we will start building the structure of our Balloon Payloads. We use foam core for our structure as it has proven to be a great packaging material for Balloon Payloads. Using foam core, one can design an near-optimal payload package for the contents rather than trying to work around other materials’ limitations. *We highly recommend watching the testing module before the structures module. Don't complete your build without testing first.


Structures / System Integration Module

Foamcore Payload Construction Document


Stand Alone Modules - Can be completed at any time

In this module we will look at the engineering process and understand what a design review is, requirements and why we care about them, and how to verify and validate our design. This will help allow students to understand what they will need in order to prepare for Preliminary Design Review (PDR), Critical Design Review (CDR) and the Flight Readiness Review (FRR).


The Design Process Module

The Design Process Slides


In this module we will look at the importance of testing. Testing includes making sure everything works as you are building your Balloon Payload, as well as testing during and after integration to verify that your completed project should work. If you wait until the end to do testing, it becomes a lot more challenging to troubleshoot issues that might arise.


Testing Module

Testing Slides


Supporting Information

a) Introduction to Electricity and Circuits

b) Introduction to Earth's Atmosphere

c) How to Use a Multimeter

d) Data Download


Students are responsible for:

•Staying on top of email communication from the Balloon Payload staff members.

•Completing all skill modules and showing competencies in those skills.

•Following all safety protocols closely when completing activities.

•Keeping track of and returning tools and other reusable kit supplies.

•Asking questions and reaching out to staff team whenever needed.

•Participating in periodic meetings with staff leadership.