Space Seraph – Race to the Heavens

The Long Eaton School are due to launch our second “near space” mission. The mission name Space Seraph was chosen by students of the school and a house competition set to design a mission patch.Space-Seraph

Launch Date: 28th June 2017. Clearance has been sought from the Civil Aviation Authority to launch a high altitude balloon at 09:35. For a period of two hours all aircraft below 5,000m will be diverted away from Long Eaton so as to prevent a collision so this really is a case of now or never, or at least for 28 days as that is the notice required by the CAA. 28th June is our school’s “Eco day” so this seemed the ideal day to look back at Earth from on high.

Mission Objectives: To launch a balloon to an altitude of 32km carrying a range of scientific experiments and a video camera. Local primary schools have been invited to join in the mission by sending in two experiments each which will be carried atop the capsule suspended beneath the weather balloon. In addition, members of the Astronomy Club will be given the chance to design some experiments too. On board there will also be a so-called Black box that will record location, altitude, acceleration, air pressure, temperature and magnetic field strength. The final piece of equipment is the GO-Pro camera that will hopefully capture the curvature of the Earth and the thin blue line that is our atmosphere.

Mission Facts: The Space Seraph mission has been funded by the Institute of Physics after a successful grant application. The mission duration is expected to be between 120 and 150 minutes. Burst altitude is estimated to be 32km. At 32km the air pressure is less than 0.7% that at sea level. The mission aims to reach more than three times the cruising altitude of a Jumbo Jet! The temperature is expected to drop below -50 degrees C. Our previous mission in 2013 aimed for 19km and reached in excess of 24km so only after we recover the data will we know how high we have managed to fly our balloon.

On The Day: We hope to bring updates as often as possible during the flight whilst we track and chase the balloon across the UK. Check back here for updates! After the event it is hoped to share a video of the entire mission in highlight format including any “You’ve Been Framed” moments from the chase team.

29th June and beyond: The Long Eaton Astronomy Society will be meeting at 7pm on June 29th where Mr M. Perkins of the school will aim to give a full mission review with some footage etc. If the weather allows there will be chance for Solar observing before hand and refreshments will be available from 6:30pm. All welcome, members free, visitors for a suggested donation of £2. After this in the following days / weeks it is hoped to publish more detailed results and data from the entire mission here on the blog.

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About mpole2011

An astronomical observatory at The Long Eaton School, scheduled to open in early 2012
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