Phone: 612-624-5551
24-hr number: 612-293-0831

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Media Advisory

U of M engineering students to launch baseball into stratosphere from Target Field at Sept. 16 Twins game

Media Note: James Flaten, associate director of the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium and University of Minnesota assistant professor, will be available for in-person interviews about the balloon launch on Sunday morning before 9 a.m. and in the afternoon after the launch at Target Field. He can be reached on his cell phone at 651-399-2423.

Who: University of Minnesota aerospace engineering students
What: Baseball launch into the stratosphere to celebrate Aerospace and Aviation Week
When: Sunday, Sept. 16, between 12:30-1 p.m. (before start of Minnesota Twins game)
Where: Target Field, 1 Twins Way, Minneapolis

Contacts: Matt Hodson, University News Service,, 612-625-0552
Rhonda Zurn, College of Science and Engineering,, 612-626-7959
24-hr number, University News Service,, 612-293-0831

September 14, 2012

At the Minnesota Twins game on Sunday, Sept. 16, an official baseball will do more than clear the fence at Target Field. It will be launched 80,000 feet into the stratosphere!

To celebrate Aerospace and Aviation Week, the Minnesota Twins organization is enlisting the help of NASA’s Minnesota Space Grant Consortium and University of Minnesota aerospace engineering students to launch a weather balloon into near space before the game.

The balloon will carry an official game ball signed by Twins sluggers Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau. The balloon will also carry a camera to record its journey and a GPS tracking system so students can find the balloon when it comes down later in the day, which is expected to be near New Richmond, Wisc.

Former astronaut and Minnesota native Bob Cabana, who currently serves director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, will be on hand for the launch.

The University of Minnesota has a long history of balloon launches from sports stadiums. World-renowned balloonists and former U of M faculty Jean and Jeanette Piccard launched manned and unmanned balloons into the stratosphere from Memorial Stadium in the 1930s. Their work help lay the groundwork for manned space flights decades later.

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