Near-Space Photography Mission

Bedford Drive's Weather Balloon Project and Launch

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16th July 2012
  1. Some of the Y6s with the balloon prior to launch.
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  2. Looking down from the balloon as it launches.
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  3. Just before entering the low-lying clouds.
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  4. First shots of the curvature of the Earth.
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  5. The Earth from space.
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  6. Our balloon reaches bursting point!
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  7. The flight path of the balloon.
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  8. The returned craft.
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Project Highlights
Children from Bedford Drive Primary school worked with Education Consultancy team, hi-impact and scientist Dr Steve Croft to launch video cameras attached to special balloons into the stratosphere as part of their challenge to gather photographs and video footage of the earth.

The camera snapped dramatic images from space showing the curvature of the Earth followed by the moment the balloon burst and a parachute carried the cameras back to the ground.

The event was the culmination of a six-week project in which the pupils were advised by Dr Croft, who is based at UC Berkeley in California and works with NASA, to use a weather balloon fitted with GPS trackers to allow them to follow its journey to Near Space – the region between 65,000 and 325,000 feet high.

Rebecca Bridges, headteacher at the school, said: “The school is absolutely delighted to be taking part in this project.

“The children have been really enthused by the involvement of a scientist and working in team roles has totally engaged all of our year six pupils.”

Prior to launch, the pupils visited a local balloon warehouse to learn about the properties of helium and worked alongside the Civil Aviation Authority, who recommended that the launch be made from outside Wirral to avoid air traffic passing over the peninsula.

Dr Croft, an academic at the University of Berkeley in California whose family originated from Merseyside, discovered partway through planning the project that his uncle had actually attended Bedford Drive Primary, with Dr Croft’s family searching to find photographs from the 1950’s showing his relative in the school hall.

Alan Thompson of hi-impact consultancy said, "It has been a great pilot project for us. We are always looking for innovative and exciting projects for all our schools but this one has been very special. The children worked with us to make the project such a success and have now been entered into a national competition too. We are very proud of the children and hope to offer this exciting opportunity to even more schools."
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Christopher Spencer says...
Wow! I'd been told about this and now i've watched the video I am very impressed!
26 days ago
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