Categories: Weekly Space Hangout

Weekly Space Hangout: December 16, 2020 – John Powell Tells Us About PongSats and Airship to Orbit

Please welcome our guest tonight, John Powell, President of JP Aerospace, a nonprofit that launches student designed Pongsats (i.e., experiments that fit inside of a ping pong ball,) and other experiments to the edge of space using balloons. To date, over 80,000 students have participated in this program with plans to expand it even further.

John Powell, or JP as he is known, is a man in the middle. To the space community he’s “That crazy balloon guy”; to the balloon community he’s “That crazy space guy”. The reality is that he is both.

For the past 42 years JP has been the President of JP Aerospace, America’s OTHER Space Program. JPA specializes in high altitude airships, balloons and manned artificial intelligence submarines. All of this is part of their principle project, the airship to Orbit program.

JPA has flown nearly two hundred missions from rockets to airships. John holds the patent for the Airship to Orbit concept airship and has designed, built and tested one of the very few propellers that function at 100,000 feet. He started the PongSat student flight program, now having flown over 18,000 student experiments to 100,000 feet involving more than 80,000 students. He is the recipient of the 2006 Benjamin Franklin Award.

JP is a father, pilot, and rides unicycles and plays violin when not building spaceships.

Learn more about Pongsats on their webpage.

You can follow John on Twitter (@JohnMPowell1), YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Be sure to follow JP Aerospace on Facebook.

Hosts:

Fraser Cain (Website: Universe Today ; Twitter: @fcain)

Dr. Alex Teachey (Website: Alex Teachey ; Twitter: @alexteachey)

Carolyn Collins Petersen (Website: TheSpaceWriter.com ; Twitter: @spacewriter)

Dr. Morgan Rehnberg (Website: Morgan Rehnberg ; Twitter: @MorganRehnberg)

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Nancy Graziano

Nancy Graziano is a technical writer with 30 years writing experience. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, and currently resides in New Jersey.

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