But SpaceTeddy, as he’s known, isn’t content to rest on his laurels after his 2016 space jaunt. Tomorrow morning he will attempt to break what’s believed to be the world record for a stuffed toy flight, as Forrest Hill Primary School kids launch him into orbit once again attached to a huge weather balloon.
(Left) Marius van Rijnsoever noticed his daughters class was fascinated by space and so partnered with the Forrest Primary school and the community to make their dreams come true. Source – YouTube/Marius van Rijnsoever
In 2016 the stuffed space cadet climbed to a height of 28km before his balloon burst, sending him tumbling back to land on Rangitoto Island after three hours aloft.
Tommorrow, they hope to launch a balloon five times bigger, and are aiming for a height of 40km.
That’s pushing the limit for a weather balloon, because the air is extremely thin near the top of the stratosphere.
It’s not known if there is an official world record for a stuffed toy’s space flight. But in 2013 a British bear named Babbage reached 38,969m before plummeting back to land.
SpaceTeddy will take with him a handful of paper planes and an egg, as the Forrest Hill students are attempting to break two other records tomorrow.
The current record for an egg drop is around 20km, while the record for paper planes is around 35km.
Weather-permitting, SpaceTeddy will be blasting off at 10am tomorrow.
When Teddy’s balloon does burst and he parachutes back to earth, there’s no knowing where he’ll land, so a group of students will track the location of his drop zone down using GPS.
The school has gained airway safety approval, and an amateur radio club has built a special 7m antenna for receiving live images and collecting data as SpaceTeddy passes through the ozone layer.
The Takapuna Boat Club is on standby in case of a water rescue – although the school is hoping Teddy touches down on land.