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Chris Field

Balloon site
Sweden Launch Site

Chris Field
Graduated from UT Tyler: December 2002 Degree: Electrical Engineering Joined CSBF team: January 2003

Helping break new ground is something Chris Field knows about. He was the first four year electrical engineering graduate of UT Tyler in December 2002. Field said the electrical engineering program at UT Tyler prepared him for the challenges as a payload engineer.

“Engineering school teaches you how to think ... how to learn and understand,” he said. “At UT Tyler, the benefits were that there were fewer people in the classes and I knew my professors pretty well. I was taught everything I needed to know.” Field said he was hired as payload engineer even before he graduated from UT Tyler.

“It is very fulfilling and very interesting. This is not a desk job at all,” Field said. “Our equipment on the payload is responsible for getting data from experiments for science. When it is a multimillion-dollar payload, you want to get it right.” Since he started at CSBF in 2003, Field has been lead engineer on three major launches in Sweden, Antarctica and Fort Sumner, N.M., for a study called BLAST (Balloon-born Large-Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope) that searches for star formations and galaxies through a space telescope. The most recent launch of the BLAST project was from Antarctica in December.

nasa logo“It was very successful according to early indications,” Field said. “They are still analyzing data.” Field said the life of a project is about a year for each launch. In addition to the three BLAST launches, Field has worked on two test flights for new Ultra Long Duration Balloons. These balloons are made of advanced materials and use a new design to achieve flights of up to 100 days. This new generation of balloons would rival satellites in their information gathering capability at a fraction of the cost.

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