Raven hosted the first annual Raven Aerostar Balloon Day on April 5, 2016 in Sioux Falls, S.D. The event provided South Dakota students the opportunity to witness stratospheric balloon technology and manufacturing, and participate in hands-on workshops dedicated to exposing students to the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the lighter-than-air industry. Raven Aerostar Balloon Day was made possible through a Project Innovation Grant from The South Dakota Space Grant Consortium and through Raven’s commitment to supporting STEM education.

Over 130 students from the state’s Sioux Falls, Baltic and Brandon school districts participated in Raven Aerostar Balloon Day. The event showcased the company’s lighter-than-air products and developments, including Raven’s advanced Super Pressure Balloon technology. This ground-breaking technology is providing new situational awareness capabilities through controlled balloon flight in the stratosphere.

"The Raven Aerostar Balloon Day experience was a very powerful experience for not only me as a teacher, but for our students as well,” commented Matt Mueller, Brandon Valley Intermediate School SmartLab Facilitator. “We could not stop talking about everything we learned on the drive home that day. When your conversation with your students involves them talking about what they learned and how this is what they want to do when they grow up, you know it was an impactful learning experience."

Raven Aerostar is a world leader in the design and manufacture of high altitude balloons for near space applications and has a distinguished history of collaborating with university, scientific, commercial and government partners.

Raven Aerostar is NASA’s sole balloon supplier — a relationship that has held strong for more than 20 years. In addition, Raven has partnered with Google on Project Loon, a project designed to provide internet connectivity to millions using a network of balloons carrying LTE technology.

"Raven Aerostar is proud to be an affiliate member of and to work with the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium,” said Scott Wickersham, Raven Aerostar General Manager. “STEM education is important to Raven and is a genuine passion for many of our team members. We were intentional in involving those team members with Raven Aerostar Balloon Day so they could share with students their position at Raven, experiences in lighter-than-air and aerospace markets, and the impact STEM has had on their careers. We would like to thank all that attended, and we look forward to this event in the future."