NASA's Balloon Program Office and the Louisiana Space Consortium (LaSPACE) have created a balloon platform capable of reaching altitudes as high as 36 kilometers above the Earth's surface. Since 2006 NASA and LaSPACE have chosen student science projects to integrate into the balloon's High Altitude Student Platform (HASP).

Graduate and undergraduate students who would like to have their equipment included in the next HASP flight may apply to NASA and LaSPACE by December 16 for the opportunity.

A panel of experts from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va., and LaSPACE will review the applications and select the finalists for the next flight opportunity, targeted for fall 2012. Launched from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility's remote site in Fort Sumner, N.M., flights typically achieve 15 to 20 hours duration.

The major goals of the HASP Program are to foster student excitement in an aerospace career path and to help address workforce development issues in this area.