Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No...it’s a Lego-manned space probe.
You might have spotted the shoebox-sized spacecraft as it made its descent from space last Wednesday, landing in a Bolsover field at just after 1pm.
The rocket – dubbed The Meteor – is the work of aerospace engineering graduates Jon Chippindell and Ian Cunningham – who launched the £250 rocket, complete with their own Lego effigies, from Mold in Wales at 10am the same morning.
“We thought we would make the Lego figures like ourselves as the closest thing to us getting to the edge of space” said Jon, a primary teacher from Manchester.
“We wanted to do the launch from Manchester, but the Civil Aviation Authority advised us that we would have a greater launch window if we did it from Mold.”
The entire flight – from countdown to landing – was filmed using an inbuilt HD camera, alongside a tracking device that allowed them to hunt down the probe after it landed – in a field near the Stockley Trail.
“It landed between a sewageworks and a lake, so we were really lucky” added Jon.
The contraption was made up of a latex high altitude weather balloon, parachute and a payload containing a small camera, smart phone and hand warmer to keep the electronics working at low temperatures.
Now the pair want to roll out the project in schools to help encourage youngsters to take more interest in physics.
Jon said: “Schools are often so bogged down with exams and results. This could be the thing that hooks children into science.”
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