Last week the Pixalytics name got lifted towards space! In a previous blog we described how we were supporting the Plymouth University Space Society launching a weather balloon.
After a number of attempts were thwarted by the wind and weather patterns of Plymouth, last Friday was the big day. A small band of the Space Society pioneers alongside myself and Howard from Salcombe Gin, spent half an hour battling to control a weather balloon in the wind as it was pumped full of gas and had a small Pixalytics branded payload attached including a Go-Pro Camera, balloon locator, various battery packs and a small bottle of Salcombe Gin. At the top of the blog is an image of the gin high above Plymouth.
Once we were ready, the balloon was carefully walked back a few paces, and then with our hearts in our mouths, it was launched! We watched it rise gloriously until it disappeared into the low cloud that was covering the city. For anyone who wants to see the launch, it was filmed and streamed on Facebook and the recording can be found here.
Once the launch euphoria had subsided, the Space Society team jumped into a car to follow the balloon towards the predicted landing site of Taunton. The payload had a device inside which when called replied with the balloonâ€™s location to enable progress to be tracked. The balloon actually ended up around thirty miles to the east of the prediction, coming to rest back on Earth in Yeovil. Once they got close, the team had to ask an elderly resident for permission to look through her garden for the payload package. However, it was a success and the payload was retrieved!!
On examination of the footage, sadly the Go-Pro seemed to malfunction about 15 minutes into the flight and therefore we were not able to get full flight footage. However, this is the space industry and not everything goes to plan. Once you launch most things are out of your hands!
From the flight length and distance travelled the Space Society team estimate that the balloon went up above 32,000 m. Whilst that is only about one third of the way to the Karman line, which sits around 100,000m and is commonly viewed as the boundary between the Earthâ€™s atmosphere and the outer space, itâ€™s probably the highest point the Pixalytics name will ever get!
Readers will be aware that we do like the unusual marketing opportunity. Weâ€™ve previously had our name going at 100 miles per hour aboard a Caterham Formula One car, so who knows what might be next?
It was great to support local students with their adventure towards space, and hopefully it will inspire them to get a job in our industry and develop their own space career!