Press Releases

NCC team awarded at NC Space Grant High Altitude Ballooning Competition


Photo of Lake Norman taken from the Nashtronaut Team payload

Nash Community College’s High Altitude Balloon Team won two awards in the 2022 NC Space Grant Community College High Altitude Ballooning Challenge and Competition.

At the competition, teams incorporate the NASA design cycle to design, build, test and fly a scientific experiment onboard their high altitude balloon payload. Student teams attended virtual sessions to monitor progress and ask questions. Then, at the end of the academic year, the teams launched their payloads at a balloon launch and retrieval team competition.

NCC’s student group, known as the Nashtronauts, were awarded for Best Outreach for their work with the Nashville Elementary School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) class. They also won the 2022 Best Overall Team Award.

Grayson Morris, left, with NCC President Dr. Lew Hunnicutt

NCC student Grayson Morris received the College’s MVP Award this year for his extensive work on several of the systems housed within the payload.

The majority of this project was funded by the Nash Community College Foundation Mini-Grant Program. The Nashtronauts utilized two NCC Foundation Mini-Grants this year, allowing them to fund their test launch and outreach with Nashville Elementary school, as well as expand participation to double the typical number of team members.

The North Carolina Space Grant developed the High Altitude Ballooning Competition for community college teams in 2014. The program has been a huge success and many colleges now have ballooning design incorporated into their STEM curriculum.

NCC’s High Altitude Balloon Team applies the skills learned in the classroom to real-life situations. The students learn about federal regulations, proper documentation, planning, teamwork, research, programming, soldering, working with various electrical sensors and components, and so much more.
For more information, please contact Shilo Lawrence, NCC Director, Associate in Engineering and Transfer and Professor, Mathematics & Engineering at (252)451-8398 or