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Easter Bunny joins Derek the Teddy Bear at the edge of space

Published: 23 April 2014

The Easter Bunny has followed hot on the heels of Derek the Teddy Bear who hit the headlines last year when he was launched to the edge of space.

The Bunny was the latest object to be sent into the stratosphere by Southampton Spaceflight Society.

The Society was set up by University of Southampton students and runs an exciting amalgamation of space related projects such as high altitude balloons and rockets carrying both scientific and unscientific payloads to the edge of space. They hope that by carrying out these events they will inspire young people to get involved in science and see how fascinating space is.

They first gained media recognition last March when they joined forces with pupils from Toynbee School, in Chandler’s Ford, to send Derek the Teddy Bear 21 miles up to the Earth’s stratosphere attached only to a helium balloon.

Now the Easter Bunny has followed suit jumping onto the Balloonberg payload that the team launched from Churchill College, in Cambridge, on behalf of the University of Southampton Physics Society (Physoc).

Society President Chris Frohmaier said: “The Balloonberg payload consisted of GPS trackers, a temperature sensor, a pressure sensor, a stills camera, a video camera, a cosmic ray detector, a radiation sensor, and a series of science experiments including a popcorn kernel, a marshmallow, a chocolate Easter Bunny, and a small container of water, to explore the effect of the high altitude on these objects.

“The video camera allowed us to observe the items the entire length of the trip, and the stills camera sent back a picture every two minutes. It flew for around two and a half hours and reached a maximum altitude of 38.5km before it popped.

At the same time the Society also launched another balloon in collaboration with Cedars Upper School, in Leighton Buzzard. The school organised the project to encourage children to study engineering, and sent trackers, a temperature sensor, a pressure sensor, a stills camera and a video camera up with their balloon. Teacher Paul Simmonds said that the pupils who took part were 'overwhelmed by the success of the project' and they have plans to inspire the rest of the school with a film from the launch.

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