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

(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.

This image was taken from a paper plane launched into space by a British team.   (YouTube)
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Video taken by the paper plane on its descent.   (itnnews)

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