South West Wales

Pembrokeshire school planning mission to 'near space'

Tasker Milward school team
Image caption The team hopes the weather balloon will climb to an altitude of around 22 miles (35km).

A school in Pembrokeshire is planning its own mission to near space.

Pupils at Tasker Milward in Haverfordwest are aiming to record images, video and data from 22 miles (35km) above the surface of the earth.

They are currently designing a capsule that will be attached to a weather balloon and launched from the school's grounds.

Science teachers are raising the £2,000 needed to fund the project through a sponsored climb.

The latex helium balloon will carry a payload box containing a digital camera and sensors to obtain profiles of temperature and pressure.

Science teacher Jon Sharpe said there would also be a GPS module and a modem to provide and relay positional data.

Image caption The capsule will contain a camera and various sensors to record data

The capsule will need to withstand freezing temperatures and turbulence during the descent back to earth.

It is being designed so that once the balloon bursts, a parachute will automatically deploy and, if everything goes to plan, it will land somewhere in the Preseli Hills after a descent of around 40 minutes.

"The launch will be sometime in the summer term," he said.

"We've got to get clearance from air traffic control and find the right weather conditions."

The school has also been in contact with a similar project in Portugal.

Mr Sharpe said if the pupils succeeded, it would be the first launched by amateurs from Wales to reach such a high altitude.

'Journey to space'

He said the capsule was being designed by sixth-form students but the whole school was involved in the mission.

It was the idea of sixth-form student Connor Goddard.

"The aim is to take photographs and video footage of the journey to space, and also to gather data for other pupils to analyse in their science lessons," he said.

Mr Sharpe added: "We are hoping for some really spectacular images showing the curvature of the earth.

"We hope local businesses will join in to help our project, maybe by supplying some of the equipment we need or giving us sponsorship."

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