Bricileaks No.12 – Protec take the lead in the SSR


Bricileaks No. 12

The much anticipated Yellobric School Space Race is finally underway with our first three launches in South Africa in January this year. Make sure you watch our launch video. Despite losing their space balloon again our partners Imagine Scholar see two more students attain collage sponsorship – a fantastic achievement.

School Space Race – SA Launch

Was everyone totally prepared for the launch on the 29th of January? Probably not. Did we get all three space craft into space; yes, probably. Did everyone learn a great deal and have a great time, absolutely!

Learning a new coding language, programming a micro computer, understanding how radio waves work, learning how the atmosphere changes with altitude to calculate burst height, understanding temperature change with altitude, estimating decent rate and forecasting flight path based on meteorological models – could you do all these things?

After many weeks of preparation the three teams met at Mercy Air strip in White River for the launch. Surrounded by stunning scenery, the weather held off enough to get the three craft in the air. Teams in the UK and Ethiopia were able to watch the drama unfold as the balloon locations were plotted on the Hab Hub website. It was clear that there was something wrong with the Imagine Scholar balloon from the start as it veered off course leaving the other two balloons side-by-side. The Imagine Scholar balloon lost signal at about 17km, the CPU temperature having dropped to -16°C. Bondzeni’s balloon rose to 31km but never burst, on last contact it was heading towards Pretoria traveling at 140km/hr – as far as we know it is still up there! The Protec balloon burst at a staggering 28km and was recovered some 260km from the launch site 7 hrs after launch. Special thanks to Mac who was able to negotiate off road terrain through the forrest near Warburton in just a tiny hire car.

So, who has the current SSR record for altitude and is in line to win the £1,000 prize (start gazing equipment)? Team protect launched their space craft to an incredible altitude of 28,793m smashing the record set by Imagine Scholar in 2015 of 7,000m. For more detail and analysis head to our website.


A massive thank you to all who supported the launch including Mercy Air (launch site), Protec, Imagine Scholar, Heuglins Lodge, Bondzeni High, Research Council UK, Institute of Physics, Peter Retief (emergency Pis!), Thijs Mandersloot and Raspberry Pi Foundation.

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