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Students launch weather balloon from Franklin Military Academy

RICHMOND, Va. -- Students at Richmond's Franklin Military Academy, the nation’s oldest public military school, launched a high-altitude weather balloon into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

The balloon’s scientific payload included cameras, computers, GPS, and a radio.

The student scientists received telemetry and pictures in real time, glimpsing into the blackness of space and viewing the curvature of the Earth.

Chemistry teacher Norm Marshall said it was a dream come true for him.

"We had the idea for it in November 2015," Marshall said. "It took a year to really figure out whether we could do it or not."

"At first, when he said we were going to launch a balloon to the atmosphere I was like, 'okay,'" student Ibrahim Maday said. "But then he told us we'd be the first in Richmond to do this.  I was like, 'oh, that's cool.' Make history, you know?"

The high-level experiment is a capstone computer science project to the school’s 2016 Robotics class. The project was funded through the 2016 Donna Sterling Exemplary Science Teaching Award, presented by the Virginia Association of Science Teachers.

If you know a student, teacher, or school staff member ho should be featured on Building Better Minds, email Rob Cardwell.

Building Better Minds airs Wednesdays on CBS 6 at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.