Students' space probe snaps Isle of Wight from above

By Ross Findon

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Students' space probe snaps Isle of Wight from above

The Isle of Wight, as seen from space probe created by Queen Mary Grammar School, Walsall.

A SPACE probe, launched by a group of school children in the Midlands on Saturday, has captured an impressive picture of the Isle of Wight.

The photograph was taken on Saturday by the Gagarin probe, the third probe launched by the Near Space Programme at the Queen Mary Grammar School, Walsall.

The programme is the only one of its kind in the country and brings together talented youngsters from across the school, who work on everything from the science and engineering to PR and sponsorship.

On board Gagarin was a Canon camera, bought on eBay and modified by the youngsters, who rewrote some of its integral software to take pictures throughout its journey.

The probe, carried by a helium-filled weather balloon, reached 35,118m before parachuting back to earth — and landing safely on a grass verge in Swindon.

The team was able to recover the probe thanks to onboard tracking systems, including a modified mobile phone that sent GPS co-ordinates and photos of the landing site.

Maths teacher Adam Coghlan said competition to join the 11 strong project team was tough, with students going through an application and interview.

"We had some phenomenal applications from some unexpected students. It’s a great project for bringing together students with different skills," he said.

The group missed out on their target to beat the altitude of 39,000km reached by daredevil Felix BaumGartner in 2012.

See a video of the launch below:



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by A. Coghlan

8th May 2014, at 22:10:55

We’re the group responsible for the photo. It was taken by the first probe (Gagarin) of our latest mission, ‘Beat Felix!’ We’re a school based Near Space Programme crewed by 15-18yr old pupils studying at Queen Mary’s Grammar, Walsall. We build our own flight computers etc and the probes are all built and flown by us. You can find out more about us on our website: or twitter:
We’ve taken a few photos of the Isle of Wight as this is the second flight to end up in the South of the country. We’ve got more photos here:
We’re very grateful to the Isle of Wight County Press for featuring our photos and we hope you’ll take a look at our site and some of the work we do.
Best wishes,
The Horizon Team

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by Mat Thomas

8th May 2014, at 12:26:35

What an exciting project for the students to be engaged in.

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by Grahame salter

7th May 2014, at 19:46:17

There's certainly a few on here that haven't got a sense of humour and think we need to go to specsavers...they can't see
a tongue in cheek remark lol.

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by Neil King

7th May 2014, at 15:54:56

If you cant see it go to specsavers.

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by Baz Taylor

7th May 2014, at 09:14:27

I spotted the island straight away. There's certainly a few on here that need to go back to Specsavers! LOL!

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by Grahame salter

7th May 2014, at 08:19:35

It must one of them "magic eye" pictures,you stare at them for hours and still see nothing......or perhaps I "should have gone to specsavers" lol

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6th May 2014, at 23:47:46

I know my eye sight must be getting bad, BECAUSE I CANNOT SEE THE ISLAND in the top picture? CAN YOU

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by Philip Yates

6th May 2014, at 19:29:11

not that unique, just google... schools balloon into space

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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