Paper Plane Launched Into Space
British team achieves world first
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2010 1:58 AM CST
Updated Nov 12, 2010 6:40 AM CST
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(Newser) – A team of British amateurs successfully launched—and recovered—a spacecraft made of nothing but paper and straw. The paper plane, which had a 3-foot wingspan, was sent 17 miles into the atmosphere using a helium balloon, the BBC reports. It captured images from space with a miniature camera as it glided back to Earth, landing almost completely undamaged just 25 miles from the launch site.

Team members say the only point of the exercise, which ended up costing them $12,000, was to see if they could do it. "We wanted a daft project but we were amazed by how successful it was. We are absolutely delighted," said one of the amateur space explorers. "I never thought we would find the plane at all. It could have ended up anywhere and I thought it would be smashed to pieces." The operation is the latest in a recent string of impressive space endeavors involving relatively inexpensive equipment ranging from balloons to an iPhone; click here for that wild story.

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Showing 3 of 8 comments
Nov 15, 2010 6:44 AM CST
#1 17 miles (stratosphere) is not into space #2 This exact thing, sans paper plane, has been done many times just over the last few years. It's not too hard to attach a camera and GPS locator to a large helium balloon.
Nov 14, 2010 9:48 AM CST
Is that ladder to space done yet? (ladder suspended from satellite in orbit, down to earth)
Richard N
Nov 13, 2010 1:40 PM CST
So let's see...$12K dollars to send a paper and straw spaceship into space...Except it didn't go into space...and it had no practical application. I'd say that qualifies as a worthless, accomplish nothing project!