8th Dec, 2016

Robin Hood Academy launch out of this world project in space

Shaun Reynolds 18th May, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

A BOROUGH primary school launched an out of this world project on Monday (May 16) to teach budding ‘classtronauts’ about the weather in space.

Pupils from Robin Hood Academy set an earlier than usual alarm clock as the school launched a weather balloon to incorporate their learning about space and weather.

Not only did pupils get the opportunity to see what outer space has to offer, they also sketched and designed a rocket – containing images, messages and decorated labels for them to take home, once the mission was complete, as souvenirs.

Attached to the rocket was a GoPro camera which captured every moment of the journey on camera.

The balloon reached heights of 32,000 metres, hit temperatures of -60 degrees and eventually landed in Stow-on-the-Wold three hours after launching from Robin Hood Academy’s playground.

Despite the early start, year five class teacher Kate Starling – who led the project – said the event was a huge success and she was surprised by the number of people that supported the launch.

She added: “We had to launch the balloon early as we’re based only six miles from Birmingham Airport.

“We had a last minute panic as the team from Sent Into Space called us on Friday telling us the chances of the launch happening were 50/50 because of the wind.

“However on Sunday we knew it would go ahead and the weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky.

“Some of the children still had their pyjamas on but in total about 100 people turned out at 5.30am to see the balloon launch which is an incredible number given how early it was.

“The balloon landed in Stow-on-the-Wold three hours after we launched it and our IT technician Pavel Kolisek followed the balloon to collect it by using a live tracing system.”

It would appear the launch has inspired the children to research further into outer space activity as Kate added the balloon is still the main talking point of the classroom.

The balloon itself expanded to six times the size of its original volume when it left the ground before eventually popping.

Kate said: “The kids are still all talking about it in the classroom.

“Once the balloon landed and the Sent Into Space team transported it back to the classroom we had an assembly and watched what happened.

“The children designed the rocket and we printed it at school using the 3D printer.

“The inside of the rocket was hollow so the children could put pictures of themselves in and then take them home after knowing that a picture of their face had been into space.

“We had a live feed on our whiteboard and the children could see what was happening during the launch.”

Ellie Hills, operations manager at Sent Into Space, said the aim of the project was to inspire youngsters into taking a keen interest in space.

She added: “Obviously there’s been a huge amount of interest in space due to Tim Peake’s stint at the International Space Station.

“We sent pictures of the pupils into space and then returned the images back to them once the balloon had landed – how many people can say a picture of them has gone all the way up to space?

“It went really well and the ideal weather helped, we were asked so many questions by the pupils after when we held an assembly – you could tell they were fascinated by the whole project.”