Early on Sunday morning (Sunday March 3), the Outreach team from the University’s Physics Society (Physoc) went out into the New Forest to launch a Helium filled High Altitude Balloon into the Stratosphere. With a gathered audience of school children, parents and the local ponies, all braving the cold and very windy weather, we launched the balloon which disappeared into the clouds in a matter of seconds.
The balloon lifted a teddy bear, 2 stills cameras and a video camera plus associated and required electronics to 34km altitude before the balloon expanded (due to the change in pressure from the atmosphere) and popped before floating back down to Earth. It landed about 15ft high in a tree near the lovely village of Cocking, about half an hour North of Chichester. After a few failed attempts of climbing or knocking the payload down (with the use of duct tape and some long branches!) Gil the Chainsaw-man came to our rescue and retrieved the bear and cameras safely. You can see below the payload circled up in the tree with the tracker stretched between the trees over the path.
Not only did the team bring back some excellent pictures of almost-space and cloud patterns, but the HD video camera filmed Ted’s entire ascent which has given some event more impressive still images of Ted floating above the clouds.
Over the next few months Physoc along with a new society (SU Spaceflight) will be trying to top our altitude record and do one better using sponsorship money from Bloomberg, so keep an eye out for another epic launch with some even more impressive pictures coming to a social media outlet near you!
For more information contact Cait Percy, like Physoc on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @PhysocOutreach. Or if you’re interested in getting involved then find SU Spaceflight at the Bunfight.