Pupils reach for the stars with space balloon project

Image from the Campsmount Technology College weather balloon as it goes into space.
Image from the Campsmount Technology College weather balloon as it goes into space.

A GROUP of secondary school youngsters have become planetary explorers managing to capture this image from the edge of space.

The team of students from Norton’s Campsmount Technology College sent a weather balloon 100,000 feet up into space as part of a science project.

The 11 to 18-year-olds have spent the last ten weeks building the huge latex weather balloon and launched it into the atmosphere.

A small camera attached to the probe captured the ascent.

Technology teacher Simon Huntridge said: “It is quite an achievement for everyone.

“For nearly 40 minutes we lost the GPS signal due to how high it was but it thankfully came back on and the balloon popped at 100,000ft and the system came down on a parachute.

“The whole flight system was built on after school sessions and we had to get permission to fly from the Civil Aviation Authority so that pilots would be aware of the flight and avoid the area.”

The seven-foot wide balloon rose for almost two hours, getting almost 20-miles high before expanding and bursting sending the camera unit and GPS system back to earth on a parachute.

The team, who had taken part in the project on a day off, then got into a minibus and headed off to collect the footage.

Using a mission control base back in Doncaster the team were guided 50 miles to Caunton near Newark, where the remnants of the experiment had landed in a field of cows.

Mr Huntridge, who came up with the idea for the project, worked with different teachers to help students decide on the best type of frame to support the camera, what gas would be best to lift the balloon and even ways to monitor its path.

To watch a video of the balloon going into space go to http://vimeo.com/36577028