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King’s Rochester Bear Floats into Space

A teddy bear named Roffa was launched into space on Thursday 25 May 2017 by pupils at King’s Rochester Preparatory School.

After months of planning and avidly monitoring the weather reports, clearance was granted by the Civil Aviation Authority and Roffa, tied to a large weather balloon filled with helium, was launched from the school’s playing field. The whole journey was recorded with an attached GoPro camera and as he soared up into the stratosphere the most amazing footage was captured of the curvature of the earth, taking in the Thames Estuary, the Isle of Wight and even across the English Channel to France.

John Jones, Head of Computing and Magnus Caithness, Head of Science led the project and said: “We recovered Roffa at around 7pm from Hadlow, but we think he landed at about 6:15pm. A very nice couple were enjoying an evening in their garden when they saw a peculiar object falling from the sky. Mr Shilton noticed were it landed and retrieved it, read the notice on it and called our number. We were just a mile away looking where the last GPS signal had been sent from!”

King’s Rochester pupils were given the opportunity to download the footage in the morning and have a first look at the images. It is estimated that he reached 30,000 metres and flew sixteen miles before the balloon exploded due to altitude pressure and landed just three miles from where predicted.

The whole project has been documented on Twitter @RoffaTheBear and on a blog – spacemission.kings-rochesterblog.org – showing how cross-curricular this project has been, covering not only science and mathematics but also design and technology, geography, computing, digital media and production, marketing and English.

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