PongSat – A high altitude ping pong ball experiment

Posted: August 17, 2012 in Authentic Assessment, Education, Innovation, Science

Here is a top idea for a real and authentic scientific experience. Think of a free, upper atmosphere experiment in a ping pong ball. The potential here is limitless.

(Image Source: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1569698176/1000-student-projects-to-the-edge-of-space)

Student experiments flown to the edge of space by balloons and launched in rockets.

A PongSat is an experiment that fits inside of a ping pong ball.

These ping pong ball ‘satellites’ are flown to the edge of space by balloon or launched in sounding rockets. The PongSats are then returned to the student.

It’s an easy and inexpensive way to get students excited about science and engineering.

There are endless possibilities for experiments that can fit inside a ping pong ball. PongSat’s can be as simple or complex as you want them to be. Experiments can be as simple as comparing how high a ball bounces before and after being exposed to vacuum. The PongSat can carry seeds to see if exposure to cosmic rays effect their growth. Several small inexpensive computers and other electronic can fit inside a PongSat. These can be used to create a wide range of experiments. Whether carrying a marshmallow to see if it puffs up in the vacuum of near space or an entire sophisticated satellite in miniature, PongSat can create motivation, drive and passion in the classroom.

PongSats are flown at no cost to the student or school.

(The above is from: http://www.jpaerospace.com/pongsat/index.htm )

Other Links: Kickstarter website, JP Aerospace

  1. John Powell says:

    JP Aerospace is still at it, flying ping pong balls to the edge of space.
    We’ve flown an awful lot of them since this article. We’ve now flown just over 14,000.
    I believe that’s more education payloads than all the rest of the world’s space programs combined.

    We are doing it again, twice as big, this September 2000 PongSats are going up.

    Once again we are using crowd source funding to keep it free for the students.
    Here’s a link to our kickstarter page:


    John Powell
    JP Aerospace, America’s OTHER Space Program


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