Over the summer holiday myself and a friend, Ian Cunnigham, have decided to head to space… by giving high altitude ballooning a go.
The plan is to launch a weather balloon and payload to the edge of space, around 20 miles above the Earth, and recover it again after its decent via parachute. Total flight time is estimated at 2hrs 30mins with a target altitude of approx 100000 feet.
As I write this we have submitted for launch approval from the CAA and our ‘astronauts selves’ (see pic above) are waiting to board for accent in the next few weeks. Travelling with the astronauts will be an HD camera to, hopefully, return us an image showing the curvature of Earth and the blackness of space, like the example below!
What’s really surprised me is the relative ease with which the project can be completed using low cost ‘off the shelf’ components and simple construction techniques. This got me thinking that perhaps it would be an ideal science project for upper primary or secondary schools – so, to help schools wanting to have a go themselves, I will be publishing a full article in the coming weeks detailing the methods for construction and how the science encountered maps to the proposed 2014 curriculum – check back soon for more details.
My friend Ian will be writing a corresponding article on the technology used, including tracking and recovery, which will be published here.