On September 22 it’s planned to send 1000 student projects built into PongSats (ping pong balls) to the edge of space.
These experiments and projects are made by those in kindergarten, university professors, high school science classes and home schools kids.
Projects range from plant seeds to filling a PongSat with a marshmallow. At 100,000 feet (30 km) the marshmallow puffs up completely filling the ball. Then it freeze dries. The student gets to hold in her hand the direct results of traveling the top of the atmosphere.
The launch of the PongSats will take place from the Black Rock desert in Nevada. The vehicles that carry them are called High Rack. They are made of foam and carbon fiber. There are four separate telemetry links to the High Rack tracking it during the flight. At the end of the flight the balloon is released and the High Rack descends by parachute.
It will take four High Racks, each with its own balloon to carry the thousand ping pong balls.
This project is using Kickstarter to raise donations http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1569698176/1000-student-projects-to-the-edge-of-space
More on PongSats and MiniCubes at JP Aerospace, a volunteer-based DIY Space Program http://www.jpaerospace.com/
Kickstarter is also being used by the satellite project SkyCube http://www.uk.amsat.org/8955