How to Send a Weather Balloon Payload Into the Stratosphere

This article is primarily intended for the weather balloon enthusiast who wants to send a weather balloon payload high into the earth's atmosphere. Although the weather balloon won't reach space, it should float high enough in altitude to reach the stratosphere (a region of the atmosphere ranging from 6-30 miles).


  1. 1
    Choose a location. Select the location from which the weather balloon payload will be released. Select a location at least 90 miles away from an airport and at least 250 miles away from a lake or larger body of water.
  2. 2
    Tape strings to the handle. Using the duct tape, tape the point at which the parachute strings meet to the handle of the payload container. Tape this area very well.
  3. 3
    Put the balloon on the tank. Almost completely envelop the output valve of the tank with the neck of the weather balloon.
  4. 4
    Fill the balloon. Turn the knob on the tank to fill the weather balloon with helium. As the weather balloon is being filled with helium, continuously measure the weather balloon's shadow with the tape measure until the shadow has reached the specified diameter of the weather balloon. Then turn the knob on the tank in the opposite direction it was first turned, until it is a struggle to turn it any further.
  5. 5
    Tie off the balloon. Pull the neck of the balloon completely off of the helium tank's outlet valve. Tie the neck with an overhand knot. Immediately after, have your friend hold the weather balloon. From this point, your friend will be holding the weather balloon until the project is released into the atmosphere.
  6. 6
    Tie string to the neck of the balloon. Tie this knot above where you just tied the neck of the weather balloon with itself. Cut a piece of string 8" long and use it to tie off the balloon.
  7. 7
    Tie the balloon to the payload container. Cut a 10 foot long string. Tie one end of the string to the handle of the payload container. Then tie the other end of the string to the neck of the balloon.
  8. 8
    Release the balloon. If the shed you used to construct it is at the destination chosen to release the project, all that is left is for you and your friend to step outside of the shed and to release it! If the shed isn't at the destination that was selected, drive to the destination and release it there. Either way, have fun watching it ascend!

Things You'll Need

  • Weather balloon: The size of the balloon (in grams) will help determine how high in altitude it will go. The larger the gram size, the higher the balloon should be able to ascend
  • Payload container: A payload container is a container that has room to fit other materials in When choosing a payload container, choose a container that is strong enough to take a pretty hard impact from a solid object, a container that has a handle, and a container that is as light as possible
  • Parachute for the payload container: You shouldn't need anything extravagant if your payload container is lightweight. If your payload container is lightweight, the diameter of the parachute should be 2-3ft. across
  • Tank in which to store the helium gas: Make sure the tank has at least a 9.0 cu ft. capacity
  • Helium gas: You will need enough to fill the weather balloon to its fully inflated diameter
  • Large shed
  • 25ft. of string
  • Pair of scissors
  • Duct tape
  • Tape measure
  • A friend to help with this project

Article Info

Categories: Balloon Crafts