RAF Air Cadets' balloons reach for the skies on 73km journey
RAF Air Cadets had an out of this world experience, sending their own space payloads to 100,000ft.
The cadets, from squadrons across the country, were working at the National Aerospace Camp at RAF Syerston in small teams to design and build their own weather balloon payloads to be transported with the helium latex balloon, which was destined for the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Under the guidance of CI Keelia Scott, a civilian instructor and an astrophysics expert at the National Aerospace Camp, the cadets spent three days building the balloons’ payloads.
The payloads included four cameras to try to capture views from the skies, as well as a GPS tracker and back-up tracker so the cadets could monitor its progress.
The team also included a homemade selfie stick with a photo of the cadets attached so they could put themselves in a photo from space.
The first balloon was released along with its payloads on Wednesday, and the cadets were following the balloon’s progress using the GPS tracker, as well as following it in a support car, to retrieve it once it landed.
A second weather balloon was launched by the cadets on Friday, and a selection of images were transmitted back from space.
To make sure the balloon landed safely in its destination, the cadets have had to calculate the exact amount of helium to keep the balloon in the air on its 73km journey, as well as taking into account wind speed and direction and any changes in weather.
CI Scott said: “This is the first time we have tried to get the cadets to build their own balloons and they have been really engaged.
“They have put it all together and come up with some really interesting concepts.”