Ballistic Balloon Mission

On the 17th of March, Rode Heath Primary School launched their mission Ballistic Balloon in the school playing field. The whole school was extremely excited including Mrs Wiskow who was especially enthusiastic about our once in a life-time experience.

The mission was organised by Alex and Chris from Sent Into Space. This company specialises in sending balloons outside the Earth’s atmosphere. In a brief assembly they explained all about the payload, and what was inside it. There was a tracking device so we knew where it was; a camera so it could take pictures of the earth from space and on the outside of our payload were the winning mission patches we designed before the launch.

The balloon we used was made out of latex and was filled with helium. This gas is lighter than air; therefore it can travel further into space. When it was on the ground it was roughly 3m x 3m. The air pressure on earth is different than in space, so the balloon expands more than on Earth. The reason for this is that there is no air pressure in space, so the balloon is forced outwards by the helium inside which wants to escape. Eventually it pushes the balloon to a massive diameter of 10m. When it becomes too big to expand anymore it pops leaving the parachute to bring our payload safely back down to earth.

As it was such an enormous event, reporters and BBC Radio Stoke’s reporter, John, interviewed a few lucky pupils about what they thought about the whole Out Of This World Mission, and later they heard themselves on the radio!

After an exciting day, the school received a phone call saying the balloon had popped above Buxton and had eventually landed in Matlock. Where did it land though?

UP A TREE OF COURSE, and it took 4 HOURS to retrieve it!!

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