Students' space probe snaps Isle of Wight from above

By Ross Findon

Published on Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - 12:38


Students' space probe snaps Isle of Wight from above

The Isle of Wight, as seen from space probe created by Queen Mary Grammar School, Walsall.

A SPACE probe, launched by a group of school children in the Midlands on Saturday, has captured an impressive picture of the Isle of Wight.

The photograph was taken on Saturday by the Gagarin probe, the third probe launched by the Near Space Programme at the Queen Mary Grammar School, Walsall.

The programme is the only one of its kind in the country and brings together talented youngsters from across the school, who work on everything from the science and engineering to PR and sponsorship.

On board Gagarin was a Canon camera, bought on eBay and modified by the youngsters, who rewrote some of its integral software to take pictures throughout its journey.

The probe, carried by a helium-filled weather balloon, reached 35,118m before parachuting back to earth — and landing safely on a grass verge in Swindon.

The team was able to recover the probe thanks to onboard tracking systems, including a modified mobile phone that sent GPS co-ordinates and photos of the landing site.

Maths teacher Adam Coghlan said competition to join the 11 strong project team was tough, with students going through an application and interview.

"We had some phenomenal applications from some unexpected students. It’s a great project for bringing together students with different skills," he said.

The group missed out on their target to beat the altitude of 39,000km reached by daredevil Felix BaumGartner in 2012.

See a video of the launch below:



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