We successfully launched the HAB payload and balloon in mid January. Everything went off without a hitch and we were able to track our balloon’s altitude, surrounding temperature, and most importantly its GPS location for several hours. We watched on our tracking gear as the balloon ascended to over 80 thousand feet in the air and traveled south-east toward Anatone, WA. Our original projections put the landing site farther east than Anatone, but the winds have a mind of their own, and it didn’t matter because we knew exactly where our balloon was headed. Of course, projects are never that simple. We launched our balloon without its backup tracker, because we wanted to make sure we could launch before bad weather came in. Unfortunately, that decision came back to bite us. We got our last GPS ping while driving up the grade to Anatone. The balloon was still at 11 thousand feet. We lost line of sight between our balloon and our tracking receiver while driving up the hill. We never got it back. Our team and other community members spend hours searching for the payload on launch day and the following weekend to no avail. We have a search radius that has been mostly covered, and we had plans in place to search the remaining area. Then it snowed. Right now, we are waiting out the weather to continue our search and retrieve our payload cameras. We’s received a very generous offer from the National Guard to use our payload as an aerial search target in a training search and have also gotten a lot of community support for our project. The balloon will be found, but it’s going to take some time. IF YOU SEE A STYROFOAM BOX WITH FLORESCENT ORANGE FABRIC ATTACHED TO IT IN THE AREA SOUTH-WEST OF CRAIGE, WA, PLEASE CONTACT THE ASOTIN SCHOOL DISTRICT!