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13 November 2014

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You are in: Cambridgeshire > People > Your Stories > 'Space Cheese' tumbles back to High Wycombe!

Space Cheese at High Wycombe

Space Cheese found in High Wycombe

'Space Cheese' tumbles back to High Wycombe!

We can exclusively reveal that the missing 'Space Cheese', launched to commemorate the Moon Landings has returned to Earth. Helped by tracking from Cambridge University, it's been found in a back garden near High Wycombe!

You heard it here first!

The whey-ward wedge of Space Cheddar, launched in Somerset on Tuesday morning, 28th July, has been found safe and well, nestled in a suburban back yard near High Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire. It had landed sometime on Tuesday evening.

Dom Lane with the Space Cheese

Preparing to launch the cheese

Somewhat surprised to find the interstellar cheddar in her garden, a woman from Cressex (who wishes to remain anonymous) took the cheesey package to her local police station in High Wycombe.

It's not the usual 'lost and found' item that the police are called upon to deal with, but our boys in blue were more than happy to keep the payload overnight, and contacted its owners at West Country Cheesemakers on Wednesday morning.

It was feared that the cheese might never by found when the on-board GPS tracker failed shortly after take-off.

The payload at High Wycombe police station

Cheese at High Wycombe police station

Students from Cambridge University's SpaceFlight Society stepped in to offer their expertise, providing a detailed 'likely trajectory of cheddar' model for the Cheesemakers to follow. And, assisted by that, they were able to predict that the cheese could indeed make land somewhere in the Home Counties.

Safe and well... but where's the evidence?

Now, we're all thrilled to hear that the first dairy product space flight was a success, but sadly, neither the GPS tracker nor the digital camera were working, so we can't show you any pictures at all!

However, part of the helium-filled balloon used to launch the cheese 30km above the Earth - into Near Space - was still attached to the load. It had clearly burst - as it was designed to - and this only happens at a very high altitude, suggesting that the cheese may well have made it into space.

But, what it saw from up there... only the cheesy-naut will ever know, and we have it on good authority that it intends to remain tight-lipped about its big adventure.

Dom Lane, however, (who works for the West Country Cheesemakers) was happy to talk about the cheese's travels. Listen to him on Antonia Brickell's Drivetime show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire:

Teddy-nauts 30km above the Earth (copyright Cambridge University)

Teddy-nauts 30km above the Earth

Lost and found... read about the big cheese's big adventure below:

Scientists from Cambridge University, who previously launched teddy bears into the ether, are helping to track the West Country cheddar which was launched into space at 4am on Tuesday 28th July to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Moon landings

Six months ago, scientists from Cambridge University's Spaceflight Society launched four teddy bears into outer space, with help from pupils at Parkside Federation School in the city.

Space Cheese launch

5-4-3-2-1... and it's off!

We thought that was pretty unique until today's news - that West Country Cheesemakers have decided to commemorate the Moon landings by launching a lump of humble cheddar into the great beyond - well, that took us, and the rest of the known universe by storm!

Using similar technology to the teddy-nauts experiment, the 300g wedge of cheddar was launched 30km into what's known as 'near space' - the same height as our intrepid teddies managed last year.

Listen to Dom Lane, one of the cheese-meisters responsible for this incredibly important experiment, as he talks to Jeremy Sallis on the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Breakfast Show:

Lost in Space

Our teddies fared slightly better than the cheese, however, as their GPS tracking and computer systems stood up to the ravages of the trip - whereas the computer systems on board the enterprising cheesy-naut appear to have gone AWOL.

Space cheese

Projected to come back down to Earth somewhere over East Anglia, the GPS system has now failed and the cheese is, quite literally, lost in space. Or possibly sitting in a field somewhere being sniffed by curious wildlife.

And that's where the boffins from Cambridge University's Spaceflight come into play.

Hearing of the plight of the Cheesemakers, they have offered to assist in tracking the probable trajectory of the whey-ward wedge in an attempt to pinpoint a likely landing place.

Working closely with their West Country colleagues, they hope to be able to bring the cheesy-naut safely back to Earth. It's very nearly as exciting as an Apollo mission!

More about Spaceflight

Spaceflight's aim is to find cheap and easy ways to send payloads into space, while running an active outreach programme that encourages kids to find the fun in Physics and realise that science can be scintillating.

For more information about the teddy bears' space adventure, click on the links below.

Join the cheese-spotters club

If you're lucky enough to find the cheddar-naut, please try to resist the urge to slather it with pickle and jam it between a couple of slices of bread. The Cheesemakers would very much like to retrieve their hardware - GPS and camera - as well as the now infamous dairy product.

Take some photos, send them to us and let us know when and where the cheese has landed. We'll make sure it all gets home to its rightful owners. And then there'll be big cheesy grins all round!

last updated: 30/07/2009 at 12:26
created: 28/07/2009

Have Your Say

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Grumpy Coot
Let's hope the next chunk of cheese lands on their heads.Aren't there laws against this sort of thing?

oh. oh. oh. possibly the best news story of the century! as a high wycombe resident i find this highly exciting, and if i see any more floating cheese on the skyline i'll let spacewatch know!i've also desperately been trying to find a kind of cheese that rhymes with flying to make a ufo joke, but alas! there seems to be cheese. hah.

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