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Pupils ready for lift-off

John Wilkinson preparing the Mission Rise project with Bedford High School summer school students Kiera and Janna Martin, nine, Elise Stephens, 10, and Kimberley Jones, 11

John Wilkinson preparing the Mission Rise project with Bedford High School summer school students Kiera and Janna Martin, nine, Elise Stephens, 10, and Kimberley Jones, 11

A SECONDARY school will boldly go where no-one in the borough has gone before when it joins the space race today.

Bedford High School, in Leigh, is launching a high-altitude balloon which will escape the Earth’s atmosphere and bring back astonishing footage of our planet from the edge of outer space this morning.

A group of science-mad pupils and staff from the Manchester Road school behind the Mission Rise project will see the craft reach a height of 36 kilometres following blast off from a launch site near Rochdale. The balloon will carry a high-definition video camera to bring back stunning images of the Earth from its upper atmosphere, and will also carry a Raspberry Pi computer and positioning device allowing pupils back at mission control to track its progress.

Maths teacher John Wilkinson, who is leading the project, said: “The pupils at our summer school have been helping to put the project together and we’re hoping for some impressive results.

“From that altitude we will be able to see the curvature of the Earth and the stars above it.

“Our pupils will be able to gain a lot of information from the journey on subjects like physics and geography that they will be able to use in the classroom.”

The balloon will also have a special Mission Rise T-shirt on board which has been signed by Tim Peake, Britain’s first astronaut, after John met him at a conference.

The project will have to make the journey over to Hollingsworth Lake near Rochdale for lift off as the school is too close to Manchester Airport and the team will need permission from the Civil Aviation Authority and the control towers at the region’s major airports before they can launch the craft.

Earlier this year pupils from Cockermouth School in Cumbria made national headlines after they sent a meteorological balloon with a mobile phone camera up into space for a matter of a few pounds and it sent back spectacular images of the earth including its curvature.

 

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