DARWEN students went from Sudell to the brink of space in a special science project this week.

Year Seven and Eight pupils at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy released a huge helium balloon with a camera attached to it into the atmosphere to capture images of the town from above and beyond.


The balloon was two metres in diameter before launch but due to the pressure difference at altitude swelled up to 10 metres, which would cause the balloon to burst and deploy a parachute landing the camera and scientific equipment back to Earth.

Principal Brendan Loughran said: “We came up with the idea at the start of the year that we would like to do something really big during Science Week.

“We realised that there would be a partial solar eclipse on the Friday so we thought we would have a space-themed week.

“The plan was simply to see how high we could get a camera and then get it back again.

“We did many preliminary checks including wind predictors, gained a licence and sent notice to local airports before launching the balloon at DACA on Tuesday morning.

“The footage from this height gave a wonderful insight into the thickness of the atmosphere, the fragility of our planet and the curvature of the Earth.”

The balloon travelled at around 10mph on its ascent, reaching a maximum altitude of 34km before it burst.

It reached speeds of 30mph on its three hour and 40 minute-long journey, in which it recorded temperatures of -45 degrees Celsius.

Mr Loughran added: “The balloon landed on the Airedale Shopping Centre in Keighleyn.

“The footage we captured from the camera has blown the students’ minds.