England’s newest astronauts are plush. Last week, the Cambridge University Spaceflight program sent four brave teddy bears into suborbital space as part of a program to get young people interested in space exploration. The experiment taught the children about the importance of proper insulation in space and created a series of photographs they’re sure to remember.
The student-run Cambridge University Spaceflight looks to reduce the cost of suborbital spaceflight, and frequently conducts experiments by launching high altitude balloons into near space. For their eighth Nova launch, they collaborated with a local science club. Club members ages 11-13 were invited to design insulating spacesuits to help the teddy bears survive the -53 °C temperature they would encounter during the flight.
“We want to offer young people the opportunity to get involved in the space industry whilst still at school and show that real-life science is something that is open to everybody” says Iain Waugh, chief aeronautical engineer of student-run Cambridge University Spaceflight.
“High altitude balloon flights are a fantastic way of encouraging interest in science. They are easy to understand, and produce amazing results,” said Daniel Strange, treasurer of CU Spaceflight.
The bears were launched on November 29th and returned to Earth on December 1st. Unfortunately, all four bears appear to have frozen while in space, but the cameras in the payload captured several striking images of their journey.