18 year 11 students are undertaking a mammoth task of designing and building a payload for a weather balloon. With funding and support from REACT Engineering, the year 11 students are working every lunch and several meetings after school to design a payload that will contain sensor and photographic equipment. Their task is to take a photo of the curvature of the Earth from the low atmosphere. This is the first time students from The Whitehaven Academy have done such a tremendous project.

To build community links, employees from local industry have visited to advise the team, in addition to the year-11s organising and running a year-5/6 transition day. Two schools – St. Patricks, Cleator Moor and Bransty Primary, Whitehaven – attended and experienced a small part of what our year 11 students are doing. They designed and built their very own parachute and payload to keep a fragile egg safe when dropped from three metres. Some of the ideas were fantastic and really well thought out and the pupils developed great leadership and teamwork skills.

The winners, a team from St. Patricks, were awarded their trophy by students of The Whitehaven Academy (Keavy Horricks, Will Templeton, Emily Nann and Anthony Irving) who are all part of the Race2Space project.

“Your Year 11 students were obviously highly motivated and keen to make sure the visiting children got the most out of the day.” Clare Parr, Year-6 teacher, Bransty Primary said.

The team are aiming to launch the balloon before Easter, depending on the weather forecast and atmospheric conditions. However, whether they ‘win’ the competition against two other schools or not, the act of actually sending something into space will be an experience that will stay with these young people for a very long time.

Follow the team on:
Twitter @WHASpaceTrip
Their blog: http://whaspacetrip.weebly.com/about.html
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/whaspacetrip

Watch their film trailers: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW-xo7bjKl0Ff6W-X7IghJA