When launching a balloon itś generally somewhat important to have something to make the balloon go up. In our case, that something is helium. When trying to find helium for our balloon launch, we went through quite the process. After calling multiple local gas companies, we realized that none of them have helium- in fact nobody has helium. There is currently a global helium shortage. Helium is mined like other natural gasses from pockets deep in the earth. The problem is that once helium is used, for example, released from a popped balloon, it goes up. It doesn’t come back down. There are only so many helium deposits under the earth’s surface, so despite the fact that helium is an incredibly abundant element in the universe, we are running out. Attempts to synthesize helium have been successful, but have not yet caught up to the scale of helium being bought by consumers. All this combines to mean that, at least for right now, helium is very hard to come by. We considered using hydrogen for our project, but hydrogen goes boom and we do not want to go boom. Luckily, we were able to get a small amount of helium from a company that had agreed to supply us with it before issues with helium shortage came to light. We will have to scale down some of our planned projects, but at least we have helium, which is more that most people can say right now.