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Twiggs in Outer Space

Twiggs were recently asked to sponsor some intrepid young scientists at S. Anselms School in Bakewell who were launching a High Altitude Balloon (HAB).  At 11am on Monday 3rd July the HAB took to the skies and headed for the stratosphere!

Here is the report filed on the day from the team leader:

A very excited team of ballooners, accompanied by Mr Watt, Mrs Scott and led by STEM Ambassador (STEM Learning) Nick McCloud headed for Camp Hill, part of the Derbyshire & Lancashire Gliding Club near Great Hucklow.

The team took all the intricate preparations very seriously, each child having a task to undertake. Permission had to be obtained from the Civil Aviation Authority as the balloon flies at 30,000 metres – 3.5 times higher than Mount Everest – and aircraft in the area have to be warned and diverted.

Throughout the set-up, we were held in suspense as permission was late coming due to the CAA having to focus on the organisation of no less than four royal flights in the area. Finally, however, Mr McCloud took the call giving the green light and everyone breathed an enormous sigh of relief!

The helium filled balloon is carrying a small polystyrene encased payload containing camera, GPS and communications equipment. It is also carrying a small bag on the children’s trinkets and mementos including a keyring, necklace, time turner, pinecones and even a couple of flowers.

With the tracking equipment calibrated, aerials fitted to the roof of the minibus and the balloon carefully filled with helium, it was almost time for the launch.

Taking account of the weather conditions and drift, we estimate the balloon will travel for approximately 2.5 hours and land early this afternoon near to Coningsby in Lincolnshire, where the attached parachute should enable it to drift safely back into our atmosphere and land.

A huge cheer went up as the balloon lifted into the sky and rapidly ascended into the clouds.

Our intrepid team will be in close pursuit, hoping to retrieve the payload and bring it back to school to see the pictures and analyse all the data it should have captured.

Although the balloon came down just offshore it has since been recovered and HD images will be downloaded in due course.  The image above was transmitted back in standard definition during the flight.  Congratulations from everyone at Twiggs to the school, pupils and teachers.