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Students Launch   Balloons in Cornish

Cornish — High school students and their University of New Hampshire mentors have successfully launched twin weather balloons, a flight that will serve as a test platform for a NASA-funded instrument built at UNH to measure gamma rays.

The launch — originally scheduled to take place at noon Thursday from the grounds of the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish — was delayed several hours.

Organizers say given favorable winds at high altitude, the devices will ride up to 100,000 feet — the edge of outer space — in dish-shaped Styrofoam and cardboard re-entry vehicles built by the students and designed to float back to Earth without a parachute.

The experiment is part of a Project SMART summer program at UNH to interest high school students in careers in science and math.