by Jake McMillan
How much do you think it would cost to carry out your very own space mission? Millions of pounds? Nope, you can do it for £200 and even buy the equipment off the internet!
To test out the new GoPro cameras Flyonthewall.uk.com are selling, they are daring to send a Bacon Explosion into space! The Flyonthewall Bacon into Space Team will achieve this using a helium weather balloon they bought from Amazon and attaching it to a ‘baconcraft’ they have designed along with around 300g of bacon.
The balloon will carry the baconcraft known as Pigasus I, 30 miles straight up into the sky and into space. At 30 miles in height the balloon will disintegrate and Pigasus I will begin to plummet and a parachute will open with a terminal velocity expected of 15.7mph.
As the Bacon into Space Team are complete amateurs with no history of space engineering whatsoever, this mission proves that great technology is actually extremely affordable and conducting your own space mission is very doable. However, it still requires a lot of preparation, head-scratching, planning and good luck with the weather.
The U.K.-based team feel confident they may be able to launch in January if the weather and wind direction are correct. Not only did the Bacon into Space Team have to be sure of their science and mathematics, they also needed permission from the Civil Aviation Authority. To gain approval, this mission had to be carefully thought out and planned, with a clear focus on safety.
The team plan to launch Pigasus I from John Coles Park in Chippenham and although the weather forecast looks good for this weekend, they need the wind to be travelling in an Easterly direction otherwise it will not be safe to launch. Dave Langdale, one of the Flyonthewall Bacon into Space Team, told me that if the wind is travelling any other way then Pigasus I could end up flying to RAF Brize Norton or towards Bristol Airport, which would not be safe. Pilots and airplane passengers might get nervous if they saw a flying pig … but who would believe them?!
Although Dave and his Bacon into Space colleagues are confident, he explained there are still a number of things that can go wrong:
- there could be a small hole in the balloon which would mean it would take longer to go up (they are expecting the whole space mission to last 3.5hrs from take off to landing) and will be more affected by the wind;
- they need to be able to follow and find Pigasus I when it lands (they are using a Windows phone to track it via GPS);
- If the wind calculations aren’r right Pigasus I could blow right off the edge of the country or worse, into London city centre
Richard Linford, Managing Director of Flyonthewall.uk.com, told me, ‘This is a very exciting project and I shall be having my fingers crossed for the weather this weekend. I will be eagerly awaiting the video footage captured from the space mission. It really does prove that state of the art technology can actually be affordable and this is a philosophy we have used across the Flyonthewall product range’.
I wish the team the very best of luck!