Students at West Lakes Academy have successfully launched a recording device into space. The nine sixth form students from West Lakes Academy have been set the challenge by local firm React Engineering.
The project called Elevated Horizons saw two teams of students from West Lakes Academy and Cockermouth School work with professionals from React Engineering to send their devices into the atmosphere. The task has seen the students design, build and launch a device capable of reaching the highest altitude and recording compelling footage of the curvature of the earth, images of the atmosphere and the blackness of space.
The recording equipment was attached to a giant helium balloon and for the mission to be successful, the students must retrieve the device using GPS tracking and have managed to record 360-degree video footage of the balloon ascending into the blackness of space and descending. As well as this, the team must record information such as temperature, air pressure and radiation levels.
Irene McMillan from React Engineering said, ““The initial aim of the project was to get students into science and get them involved in amazing experiences like these. Also, with React Engineering celebrating their 25th anniversary, there was no better way to acknowledge it than sending a balloon into space!”
Chris Woolhouse from React added, “The WLA team has been fantastic! They have particularly done very well at splitting the tasks out, to make the whole project run so smoothly. Overall, team work has been really good, it was a great experience for them all working together on such a technical challenge.”
West Lakes Academy student Logan Adshead said, “We’ve been working on this project since December. Each member of the team has had their own role within the project and we have worked together to design and create the balloon payload which will hopefully capture some amazing 360-degree footage. We’ve also had weekly meetings with React Engineering who have supported us throughout the project and supplied essential equipment needed for the task.”
Year 12 student Curtis Hailes added, “The launch was really successful – over the past 7 months we have been working together on this fantastic project. We have set up GPS which works on a sim card, so when we retrieve the balloon, we will be able to watch the footage in VR! It will be really interesting to see the footage as it goes up into the air. I’ve really enjoyed taking part in the project and I hope it helps to inspire the younger students and engage them in STEM subjects.”
Science teacher at West Lakes Academy, Hugo Graham, commented, “All of the students involved have worked fantastically together. It’s great to see them work together and grow not only as students, but also people. By completing professional projects like this, the students benefit greatly because they get an idea of working in real life, especially in the engineering and physics industry. It’s important to cease every opportunity you can.”