15 March 2018
With the weather cleared as safe and the go ahead from the civil aviation authority, Mary Margaret was attached to a black box data recorder recording temperature, humidity, air pressure, GPS location, acceleration and magnetometry.
With an audience of pupils and staff from both St Mary’s and St Margaret’s Preparatory School, Mary Margaret was attached to a huge helium balloon and parachute. The wind was blowing quite hard by this time so the launch was quite tricky but eventually, with a loud countdown from the crowd, Mary Margaret was airborne and quickly disappeared from sight.
During the course of the day, Mary Margaret ascended to 33km into the stratosphere. As the air pressure decreased, the balloon got bigger and bigger until it was the size of a double decker bus and then it exploded. Mary Margaret then accelerated fast towards earth (falling at 150mph!) but as the parachute kicked in she slowed down and landed in Oxfordshire.
When she returns back to school, Mary Margaret will be placed in pride of place in the Science Department, Calne’s first near space astronaut! We will be uploading the footage of the flight imminently and using the data collected in our Physics and Maths lessons over the next year.