top of page


Hey, did your science class get cancelled? Are you stuck at home with nothing to do?


Maybe now is the time to visit the stratosphere...

20190517_125340.jpg and Earth to Sky Calculus are teaming up to send you there--free of charge. The name of our program is FREELIFT. We're giving away high-altitude balloon launches to students and citizen scientists who have good ideas for experiments.

We are accepting 1 page proposals for high-altitude research.  (See details below).


A panel of reviewers consisting of Dr. Tony Phillips and current members of Earth to Sky will judge them. The best proposal every month wins a trip to the stratosphere--free of charge.


What We


The helium, balloon, payload, and all hardware required to carry your experiment to the stratosphere.


We'll launch the balloon, track it, video-record the experiment during flight, and recover the payload from its landing site in the wilderness.

FREELIFT experiments will fly piggyback on one of our standard cosmic ray payloads.


Supporting S.T.E.M

How is this possible? Balloon launches are expensive and require significant expertise to conduct.

We have the expertise: Earth to Sky Calculus has launched more than 300 balloons, making us the most active amateur ballooning group in the world.


Thanks to our supporters, who purchase items from the Earth to Sky Store, we also have the resources. We can afford to launch at least one extra experiment per month for students outside our program.


What You Provide

The experiment itself. Just mail it to us.  We will mail it back when the flight is finished.

Your idea, gizmo, or whatever, should:

  • weigh less than 500 grams

  • fit on a small platform (about  6 inches x 6 inches)

  • require no form of power more complicated than standard lithium batteries.


Your Proposal

Your proposal should be no longer than 500 words with a single optional diagram or image. 


After a preliminary review, you might be asked to submit a longer proposal addressing items of concern related to the practicality of your idea for stratospheric flight. If we like your experiment, we will provide constructive feedback to help make it work.

Successful proposals will outline the roles of all team members, young and old.


Who Can Participate?

Anyone anywhere is eligible to compete. This includes students from home schools, private schools, public schools or from no school at all.


Proposals may be submitted by teams or individuals from any country on Earth. Adults are allowed to participate as well, either as principal investigators or as mentors for younger people.


Your Experiment Supports Ours

A typical balloon flight lasts 2 hours and reaches an altitude between 100,000 ft and 120,000 ft. During the flight, your experiment will be exposed to air pressures less than 1% of sea level, temperatures below -50 C, and cosmic ray fluxes 100x stronger than on the Earth below.


During the flight, we'll be collecting data about the temperature and pressure of air around the payload as well as X-ray and gamma-ray fluxes. We will also gather GPS coordinates and altimetry, so we know where the balloon is at all times. All of these data can be provided to you to support your experiment.

Send in your proposal today!

  • 1 page Word document

  • 500-word maximum

  • One diagram or image (optional)

  • Outline the roles of all team members, young and old

Your experiment/idea should:

  • weigh less than 500 grams

  • fit on a small platform (about 6 inches x 6 inches)

  • require no form of power more complicated than standard lithium batteries.

Email your proposal as a Microsoft Word Document or PDF file attached to:

The best proposal every month wins a free trip to the stratosphere! 

bottom of page