Members of 31st Brigade launch weather balloon

Local News

LAWTON (KFDX/KJTL) — Capt. Jordan Henrickson, with Charlie Battery 5-5 Battalion, a part of the 31st Brigade stationed at Fort Sill, set out for a first of its kind project in the area.

With a goal of collecting data while taking a break from the everyday duties of the army, Henrickson got his team ready to launch a weather balloon.

The brigade and a small crowd gathered to watch the balloon take flight, but with the unpredictable Texoma winds, the balloon appeared to be stuck in a tree.

However, after a few minutes, the balloon broke free.

“I think it’s up in the air now and it’s good to go,” Blaise Harvilla of the 31st Brigade said.

Continuing to climb higher and higher until out of sight.

The hiccup didn’t throw Henrickson for a loop though, as he’s been on top of his game for weeks now, running predictions, gaining air clearance, and planning for every possible scenario.

“What could go wrong, what happens if the balloon bursts, well if the balloon bursts I have another, excess balloon, it’s a smaller balloon, and that’s why we had two helium tanks and everything like that,” Henrickson said. “Always [have to] plan on those contingencies, because of what happened today.”

The balloon’s destination 130,000 feet above the ground, reaching the lower earth orbit, before it pops after eight hours of collecting data.

Then the balloon will return to the ground, somewhere around Paducah, according to Henrickson’s calculations.

The team will then take it back to fort sill and dive into the data, such as lowest temperature, fastest speed and highest altitude.

Henrickson was excited to introduce this project, and says his team came through for him.

“They did an absolutely phenomenal job, and I’m very proud of them, they impress me every day,” Henrickson said.

And the crew learned something they will take with them in everything they do.

“If something doesn’t go perfect, you can still change it down the road or get it on track to the right path,” Harvilla said.

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