Space

Paper plane captures images of space

Paper plane captures images of...
The all-paper-construction Vulture 1, and one of PARIS' stratospheric photos
The all-paper-construction Vulture 1, and one of PARIS' stratospheric photos
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Vulture 1, as it was found in the Spanish woods
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Vulture 1, as it was found in the Spanish woods
The payload container, after its landing
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The payload container, after its landing
Vulture 1 heading for the stratosphere
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Vulture 1 heading for the stratosphere
Vulture 1's Playmonaut pilot, above a picture of Operation PARIS' namesake
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Vulture 1's Playmonaut pilot, above a picture of Operation PARIS' namesake
A photo snapped from the stratosphere by PARIS
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A photo snapped from the stratosphere by PARIS
PARIS members Steve Daniels, John Oates and Lester Haines with Vulture 1
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PARIS members Steve Daniels, John Oates and Lester Haines with Vulture 1
The Playmonaut pilot inside Vulture 1's paper framework
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The Playmonaut pilot inside Vulture 1's paper framework
A photo snapped from the stratosphere by PARIS
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A photo snapped from the stratosphere by PARIS
The all-paper-construction Vulture 1, and one of PARIS' stratospheric photos
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The all-paper-construction Vulture 1, and one of PARIS' stratospheric photos

Three British amateur aerospace enthusiasts have successfully sent a camera-equipped paper airplane to an altitude of 89,000 feet (27,127 meters), where it captured images of the blackness of space before gliding back to Earth. Project PARIS (Paper Aircraft Released Into Space) involved getting the plane into the stratosphere using a weather balloon before letting it go via a release mechanism. Our regular readers will no doubt remember a recent similar project, in which a father and son obtained photos of outer space, before their camera-in-a-fast-food-box parachuted back to the ground.

First of all, it should be noted that the plane, called Vulture 1, is not simply a folded-up piece of paper. It’s actually quite a complex, sharp-looking custom model aircraft, complete with a framework and fuselage... although it is constructed from paper.

Vulture 1 heading for the stratosphere
Vulture 1 heading for the stratosphere

The plane was attached to a styrofoam payload box, which was in turn attached to the balloon. The payload box contained video and still cameras, a GPS tracking unit, a back-up beacon transmitter, and the release mechanism. Vulture 1 also contained a GPS unit, a miniature camera, and an all-important toy plastic test pilot.

The flight took place on October 28th, when members of the PARIS team – Steve Daniels, John Oates and Lester Haines – launched their rig from a field outside of Madrid, Spain. The plane took 90 minutes to complete its return flight, and ended up landing in the woods just 100 miles (161 km) from the launch site, with only a small hole in one wing. The balloon proceeded to burst due to the low-pressure environment, at which point the payload parachuted back to Earth.

PARIS members Steve Daniels, John Oates and Lester Haines with Vulture 1
PARIS members Steve Daniels, John Oates and Lester Haines with Vulture 1

"I was amazed how sturdy the plane proved to be thanks to Lester's design," Oates told Gizmag. "I was amazed that we managed to track it [...] and found the main payload too. I was also surprised at the quality, and amount, of video footage we got."

The PARIS crew met and organized their project through the tech website The Register. Besides being a clever acronym, their name also pays homage to one Ms. Paris Hilton – just as she used the Internet to advance her career, they hope to use it to advance aerospace technology.

All photos courtesy The Register.

Via The Telegraph

The flight of the Vulture - Part 10

4 comments
J.D. Ray
However much I think they did a great thing with this project, their video leaves something to be desired. I watched almost five minutes of clouds spinning around with a couple glimpses of space, hoping to see the landing, only to have the video stop without any conclusion (other than just ending). Furthermore, if they do it again, they should choose a clear day.
poolplayer
The plane looks sharp, and obviously shows skills... but the dad, kid and fast-food box made a better video
Robert Bianco
The fact that they got anything is impressive. We become critical of accomplishment as more media is presented to us. Kudos to these guys for their effort!!
Edgar Walkowsky
Congratulations, nice effort! This must be a record for the highest launched model aeroplane... I wonder what altitude you could achieve with a large model rocket launched from a balloon!