Space Seraph – an update

On June 28th TLES launched the high altitude balloon mission “Space Seraph”. The launch was a great success with many local primary school students gathered to watch the launch prior to the annual “Eco day”.

All appeared to be going well and a predicted landing area just outside Matlock was identified. The recovery team headed off to wait near Matlock bath to await contact with the tracking devices. The landing was estimated for 11:38am, this time came and went and still no contact was made.

More accurate simulations have since been made and the average of 400 has been taken. The target area is outlined below. Search teams have since covered just under 3.5km² of the target area concentrating in an area known to be in a communication dead zone. Unfortunately nothing has yet turned up so the search continues……



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Space Seraph Update T minus 19 hours

aPreparations are continuing for the launch of our high altitude balloon tomorrow at 09:35. For up to the minute updates throughout the mission follow us on Twitter @TLESPhysics

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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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Long Eaton Astronomical Society – 25th May

The next meeting of the Long Eaton Astronomical Society is this Thursday 25th May at the usual time of 7pm. The guest speaker this month is Steve Ibbotson of Astrosphere talking about “The Solar System”. If the weather allows there will be opportunity for observing the Sun prior to the talk. As always all are welcome to attend. Members enter for free and visitors for a suggested donation of £2 towards refreshments. Under 16’s to be accompanied by an adult please. Refreshments are available form 6:30pm.

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Long Eaton Astronomical Society March 23rd – Dr Alan Wood.

The next meeting is on Thursday the 23rd of March at the usual time of 7:00pm. We are joined by Dr Alan Wood of Nottingham Trent University and his students. The focus of the talk will be on the effects of Space Weather on GPS systems. Afterwards if the weather allows there will be chance for some observing in the observatory.


Memberships continue to renew at the same rate as last year of £15 for the year. Events are free of charge for members. Non-members welcome with a suggested donation of £2 to cover refreshments etc. Refreshments are available from 6:30pm. Under 16’s welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

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Long Eaton Astronomical Society 23rd February – Aurora at Jupiter

The next meeting of the Long Eaton Astronomical Society is this Thursday the 23rd February. Guest speaker Rosie Johnson of Leicester University will be giving a talk entitled “The Aurora at Jupiter”. Jupiter like the Earth has spectacular Aurora but unlike Earth the mechanisms driving it are much different. Rosie’s studies have probed this using telescopes across the globe including one owned by NASA.

Start time is at 7pm with refreshments available from 6:30pm. Entry is free for members (memberships now renewing for 2017 at £15 for the year). Visitors most welcome for a suggested donation of £2 towards refreshments etc. Under 16’s welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

After the talk there may be chance for some observing if the weather allows.

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Family Astronomy Club – Space Disasters – Wednesday 8th Feb

The next meeting of the Family Astronomy Club is on Wednesday 8th February. This month we will be looking at the darker side of mankind’s progress into outer space. Miss Harrington and Miss Ellender will be leading a talk on the various accidents and disasters that has beset our astronauts and cosmonauts over the past few decades.

After the talk there will be a special training session for all our budding space explorers – would you make a better astronaut than the staff at TLES?

As always,  observing will be subject to weather conditions and favourable positions of objects.

We will be starting at the usual time of 6pm and finishing at approximately 7.30pm.

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