Built with their bear hands! Schoolboys send their teddy bear to space on a home-made space ship
These brainy schoolboys sent their teddy bear into space – using their Mum’s compact mirror and budget heat-packs.
Dylan and Oscar Rees, 12 and 9, sent their cuddly toy 80,000ft into the air as part of a six-month science project with their Dad Oliver, 43.
The 1kg craft was launched from a field in Bromsgrove, West Mids, using a helium-balloon with a camera attached and an old mobile phone to track the package with GPS.
Surrounding that were heat packs Oliver had bought from Poundland – used to make sure the camera’s mechanism did not freeze.
The teddy bear was strapped to a large helium balloon and fired up to space at 5 metres per second. The average plane flies at 30,000 – 40,000ft but the height the balloon reached, 80,000ft, meant it left the Earth and travelled into the stratosphere.
The toy, bought by 12-year-old Dylan on a school trip to the National Space Centre, was strapped tightly to the polystyrene case using cable ties and was wearing a silver spacesuit made of tin foil.
Then it was just a matter of monitoring the conditions – as helium balloons are so light, the teddy could have returned to Earth as far away as Poland on a gusty day.
Oliver, Dylan and Oscar had completed the teddy’s vessel by December but had to wait patiently until June before the conditions were right for a launch. Thankfully for them, it was worth the wait.
Dylan said: “It was amazing watching it fly into the sky but we were so nervous – I thought we’d never see it again.
“It took ages for the GPS to pick up where it was. We were thinking about it all day but didn’t hear anything so I was really worried.
“When the phone started pinging it was incredible – we were so excited!”
It took the bear over an hour to reach the stratosphere and just over half an hour to return back to Earth again.
They retrieved the bear two days after the launch, on June 7th, in a farmer’s field in Kimbolton, Northamptonshire, 62 miles from its launch point.
Oscar, 9, said: “I was really worried we’d never see it again because we didn’t hear anything all day.
“We’d just sat down to have tea and were about to watch Doctor Who when the phone started beeping and we just started jumping up and down.”
The project only cost £140 to fund and the camera captured amazing footage of the entire journey, showing the earth below and the dark sky of space above.
Mum Sarah, 49, said: “The moment we got the texts was unbelievable – the boys got up, left the dinner table and were dancing around the room.
“It was total jubilation.”
The bear and his ship had took an hour and 20 minutes to reach 80,000ft before descending by a handmade nylon parachute, taking just 39 minutes to come home.
Oliver, a 43-year-old teacher, said: “I’ve always dreamed of sending something to space so I’ve loved working on this project.
“It’s been amazing to work on it with Dylan and Oscar – we’re all really proud.
“You don’t know exactly where the package is going to end up at all so I couldn’t be happier at the end result – to get the teddy in one piece with all the film footage intact is just amazing.”