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High-Altitude Balloon Project

Our Sixth Form students recently took part in a high-altitude balloon launch.

Original article:

Bullitt Group, the pioneers of rugged mobile, has successfully sent two rugged phones to space and back, in conjunction with students from University Collegiate School, in Bolton.

The project aimed to expand the students understanding of engineering at the extremes of space and exposed the phones to the harshest of environments. The trip revealed new details about pressure, heat convection and electronics use in low pressure environments and at temperatures of -30 Celsius.The devices sent on the epic journey were Cat S62 Pro rugged smartphones, each with integrated thermal imaging. Phones chosen not only as they could survive the conditions, but also to capture these unique photos and video of the earth. Total flight time: 2hr 25mins 8secs Ascent: 1hr 53min 14secs Descent: 31min 54secs Height achieved: 35.3km Lowest Temperature: -30°C Highest Temperature: 30°C Total rig weight: 1kg Ascent rate: 5m / second Recovered: 7.76 miles from launch site

“We regularly work with academic institutions, whether it be to leverage new materials science and to explore innovative additives, coatings, and construction techniques or to build products with even greater strength and hard-wearing properties. This was a fascinating project and the images captured speak for themselves. It just goes to show space is not just for billionaires!” commented Nathan Vautier, CEO Bullitt Group, global licensee for Cat phones.

Notes: Permission for the launch was obtained from the CAA, who issued a NOTAM (Notice To Air Men) to warn pilots of the activity.The balloon is filled with precisely enough helium to counteract the weight of the rig and give an ascent speed of 5m / second. Once in space, the lack of atmospheric pressure means that the balloon will expand by 5X in each direction, and eventually when the balloon can stretch no further, it will burst (in our case at 35km).

Project overseen by David Akerman, High-Altitude-Balloon expert.


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