Leighton Buzzard school's edge of space balloon records video

media captionThe school's balloon was successfully launched into 'near-space'.

A Bedfordshire school has sent a weather balloon to the edge of space and it has returned with "inspirational" video footage.

Cedars Upper in Leighton Buzzard launched the balloon from Cambridge University and it went 23 miles (38km) above the ground.

After the balloon popped, it returned to earth in Suffolk by parachute.

Teacher Paul Simmonds said the project aimed to encourage children to study engineering.

About 20 members of the school's Engineering Club were involved in the project to learn how to build a weather balloon.

image copyrightCedars Upper School
image captionThe weather balloon and its payload were launched from Churchill College, Cambridge
image copyrightCedars Upper School
image captionThe loss of pressure outside the balloon at that height caused it to pop

Mr Simmonds said: "I wanted to alter the perception of engineering for people who think it's just about looking under car bonnets.

"We've achieved what we wanted to do and got some awesome pictures rather than breaking any new scientific ground.

"The pupils who took part were overwhelmed by the success of the project and I'm now working on a film to show to the rest of the school and inspire them - and hopefully others as well."

Pressure loss

The balloon was about 7ft (2m) in diameter when it was launched and it carried a parachute and payload below it - giving it a length of about 80ft (25m).

The school team released the balloon at Churchill College, Cambridge to avoid airspace around Luton Airport.

The balloon popped due to lack of pressure at that height, but the parachute brought it back to earth and it landed in a field near Sudbury after a three-hour flight.

The project cost about £800 and the Institute of Physics gave a grant of £500 with the rest coming from the school.

There is no definitive border between Earth's atmosphere and outer space, but atmospheric re-entry for spacecraft is about 75 miles (120km) above sea level.

Felix Baumgartner's parachute jump from a balloon in 2012 was from a height of 24 miles (39km).

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