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The High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) was originally conceived to provide student groups with access to the near-space environment for flight durations and experiment capabilities intermediate between what is possible with small sounding balloons and low Earth orbit rocket launches. HASP is designed to carry up to twelve student payloads to an altitude of about 36 km with flight durations of 15-20 h using a small zero-pressure polyethylene film balloon. This provides a flight capability that can be used to flight-test compact satellites, prototypes and other small payloads designed and built by students. HASP includes a standard mechanical, power and communication interface for the student payload to simplify integration and allows the payloads to be fully exercised. Over the last two years a partnership between the NASA Balloon Program Office (BPO), Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF), Louisiana State University (LSU), the Louisiana Board of Regents (BoR), and the Louisiana Space Consortium (LaSPACE) has led to the development, construction and, finally, the first flight of HASP with a complement of eight student payloads on September 4, 2006. Here we discuss the primary as-built HASP systems and features, the student payload interface, HASP performance during the first flight and plans for continuing HASP flights. The HASP project maintains a website at where flight application, interface documentation and status information can be obtained. © 2007 COSPAR.

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Advances in Space Research

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