Physoc Outreach Launch 1

June 2012, the University of Southampton Physics Society (PhySoc) decided to engage schools with a science experiment to see their experiments launched into “space”. Members of the PhySoc Outreach team who undertook the launch then went on to form SUSF.  We launched, with the aid of Cambridge University Spaceflight Society (CUSF), from Churchill college and tracked the balloon throughout the duration of it’s flight.

This project hopes to get students excited about practical science and inspire them to study Physics at the University of Southampton. The Physoc Outreach team is run by dedicated Physics undergraduates who are passionate about passing on their enthusiasm for science.

Near the top of the flight, with the blackness of space apparent and, to a degree, the curvature of the earth.

The University of Southampton Physics Society Outreach Project:

Just about to let go of it!
On the way up, between the two cloud layers. Likely Stratocumulus below and Cirrus above (if we are not mistaken)

School children put their experiments into table-tennis balls which were then launched on a balloon with a tracker designed by Matthew Brejza, a member of the Southampton University ASTRA Initiative.

Table-tennis balls provided by school children, with a few of our own experiments too!

The payload also included cameras loaded with CHDK software to take pictures on the way up. As a group, we saw this as a brilliant time to also launch some of our own personal hobbies up and so a Minecraft “Creeper” and chest were launched.

Got to see it all.
Really get a feeling of being near space up here
Just after launch from Cambridge

The balloon burst early due to a bad balloon and reached a maximum altitude of 23km! It then descended and landed in a field where after, quite a lot of searching, we found everything still intact and still taking photos!

The payload as we found it in the field, in a wheat “crater”
Team photo after we found it lying in the field. All the cameras and payload electronics were still running.

Chris Frohmaier, Committee Chairman
Ben Oxley, Lead Engineer
Matthew Brejza, Electronics Engineer
Twitter- @PhysocOutreach