Episode 70: Why Do Science Experiments Travel by Balloon instead of by Jet?

Meet the Expert: Norman Black, Retired Air Force Colonel and Payload Integrator

Norman Black

Norman Black is a seasoned and tested space systems professional with over 25 years of highly specialized technical expertise and documented success in space and satellite operations for the military and civil agencies (NASA and the National Reconnaissance Office). He is a product of the “space race” that led to achieving a BA degree in Astronomy and a MS in Physical Science, specializing in remote sensing). After college, he spent four years with NASA at Johnson Space Center as a Space Shuttle Flight Controller. Norman is certified as a Thermal and Life Support flight controller for all phases of a space shuttle flight (ascent, on-orbit, reentry). He is a retired Air Force Colonel with a career in space systems operations that spans ground-based and on-orbit space operations. Norman Black is the volunteer payload integrator for an Edge of Space STEM education program he created that helps young students send small experiments into the stratosphere using a high altitude weather balloon. He is also the primary observer at the Star Light Observatory which serves students and the public in the Pikes Peak region.





Norm Black preparing payload

Norm Black preparing the payload (boxes) for lift-off



norman holding up payload.

Payload ready to launch!








Want to see a balloon launch by Norman’s EDGE OF SPACE Company? Click HERE 


Challenge:  Understand the structure of the Earth’s Atmosphere

Use a series of boxes and stack them on top of each other. Each box represents a layer of the atmosphere. Ask yourself what takes place in these layers? (Hint: check out this link from UCAR Center for Science Education for help)

Send us a picture or leave a comment below.We LOVE hearing from you!! If you liked this episode, leave a comment below OR share with us on our Twitter , Instagram or Facebook page.


Astronauat Aquanaut Book by Jennifer Swanson


Highlighted book for this Episode! 

Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact (National Geographic Kids)
by Jennifer Swanson







Book List: 

Gutsy Girls Go For Science: Astronauts: With Stem Projects for Kids by Alicia Klepeis (Author), Hui Li (Illustrator)

The Fascinating Space Book for Kids: 500 Far-Out Facts! by Lisa Reichley

Astronomy Activity Book for Kids: 100+ Fun Ways to Learn About Space and Stargazing by Aurora Lipper (Author), Victoria Stebleva (Illustrator)

Space Exploration for Kids: A Junior Scientist’s Guide to Astronauts, Rockets, and Life in Zero Gravity by Bruce Betts Ph.D.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content
Verified by MonsterInsights