Local students try to break world record: Students launched giant latex balloon in Ramona

Students hope balloon will drift near Africa

SAN DIEGO - A couple of students from Point Loma are hoping to make their way into the record books. The students from High Tech High School launched a giant latex balloon on Wednesday that they hope will land somewhere near Africa.

"We were trying to figure out the best weight efficient design that was also sturdy," said Diego Draguicevich, a freshman at High Tech High School in Point Loma.

Wednesday's launch in Ramona was the culmination of a five-month contest to design a small payload – in this case, a small Styrofoam cone – loaded with a beacon which will beam back its location.

The current record for a long distance launch is 7,800 miles. The students are shooting for 8,500, which is more twice the range of an intercontinental ballistic missile. 

"We can track where it's going real-time with the radio transmissions," said Draguicevich.

The aim is to get it up into the jet stream –more than 100,000 feet into the air – and let the balloon drift from San Diego to somewhere in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

They will know if they have been successful within 55 hours and it could land them in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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