On Thursday 14th February, children from Bromsgrove Pre-Preparatory School gathered in the School grounds to watch the launch of Bromsgrove Bear into space.
The bear was strapped to a large balloon filled with helium and after a very excited countdown by the children, released into the air. Before releasing the balloon, the team from Sent Into Space produced a map with a planned area the balloon would land in, with a 5-10km radius. By adjusting ascent rate with gas volume and descent rate with parachute size, the team could control where the balloon would land. The flight path itself had the potential to change with the weather, from one day to the next and if the team couldn’t adjust the flight on a particular day to avoid restricted airspaces, or urban areas, they didn’t conduct the launch on that day.
After a few postponed launch dates, Thursday 14th was the day! On the balloon and bear’s ascent, Bromsgrove Bear was due to be travelling vertically at between 4.5m/s and 7m/s, or 10mph and 15.6mph. There would be a slight increase in vertical speed, as the balloon reached the stratosphere and air resistance decreased, before the balloon reached its peak altitude.
Depending on ascent rate, descent rate and peak altitude, a flight typically lasts between two and a quarter and three hours with an ascent between one and a half and two hours, and a descent between forty-five minutes and one hour.
Bromsgrove Bear’s flight statistics for the day were an average ascent rate of 5.1m/s, burst altitude of 30,795m, and a sea level descent rate of 3.2m/s. It finally landed south-east of Northampton, some sixty miles from Bromsgrove.
The pupils were very relieved to hear that the bear had descended safely. One parent commented “that’s all we’ve heard about all evening. Our daughter was very concerned that he would be lost in space”. Another said “our son was so excited, he’s really enjoyed this topic”.
The children were able to track Bromsgrove Bear during his journey and printed out maps to see where it had landed. Thanks to SentIntoSpace for collecting him and letting the children know he had landed safely.