Fans at this Saturday's football game between Montana State University and Eastern Washington will experience MSU’s first game-day high-altitude balloon launch from inside Bobcat Stadium.

The launch, taking place 20 minutes before kickoff, will lift a custom-made “Go CATS” banner high above the Gallatin Valley while special high-definition cameras capture images from “near-space.” One of those images will be displayed on Bobcat Stadium’s Jumbotron during halftime. Throughout the game, fans will be able to view the other images and track the balloon’s journey at

The latex weather balloon is expected to reach 85,000 feet and then float east. The entire trip could take anywhere from two to four hours, said Angela Des Jardins, director of NASA’s Montana Space Grant Consortium.

Besides sharing images from the edge of space, the flight will demonstrate the benefits of a valve and computer system designed and developed by MSU students. The students will command the valve to release helium from the balloon, keeping it airborne as long as long as they wish.