Anyone with a computer or a smartphone can register for free live video streaming of Brunel University London’s second year of scientific expeditions to the very edge of space.
The project is designed by a team of final year MEng engineering students and split into two missions, one of which will aim for an altitude of more than 100,000 feet, subject to regulatory approval.
Supervisor Dr Konstantinos Banitsas said: “Last year our video of our first journey to the edge of the atmosphere using a helium-filled weather balloon achieved a global audience: www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIeRGCC0ogA
“This year we are going several strides better because those who register their mobile number or email on our website, www.brunel2space.com, will be able to watch live streaming of our scientific payload into space. And we’ll send a text alert at launch.
“Despite the many challenges, we are hopeful that our payload will break the 100,000ft barrier so people will be able to see the curvature of the Earth and the blackness of space in real time. If the communication link breaks, we will send everybody a video from the beginning of space after a few hours and upon recovery of the payload.”
Adding to the video, the first mission will carry a number of physics experiments designed in conjunction with physicists at the Large Hadron Collider and the Diamond Light Source that will measure the UV radiation and cosmic rays in different altitudes. Due to legal restrictions, the live video stream won't be available throughout the whole mission.
The second mission (later in February) will take a specially designed and built autonomous unmanned glider which will ascend by helium balloon and then be released at a maximum altitude of 12,500ft within a segregated airspace, pending satisfactory completion of further testing and approval of the regulator and airspace authority.
This mission investigates the regulatory challenges involved in integrating UAVs into airspace, and seeks to provide suggestions to improve and standardise the UAV regulatory process. In addition, we will also be analysing the flight physics of a blended wing body UAV, and comparing to a standard configuration aircraft.
A great number of challenges have to be overcome to succeed in both missions, but the team is optimistic that either in live stream or in high-resolution video, they will be able to provide the viewers with spectacular videos and images.