At just after 11.00am this morning our S. Anselm’s High Altitude Balloon (HAB) took to the skies and headed for the stratosphere!
A very excited team of ballooners, accompanied by Mr Watt, Mrs Scott and led by STEM Ambassador, 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 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 were 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.
This is one of the early images received.
A full album of photographs and short filmclip of the launch is available on our school Facebook page.