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Space Toys United Kingdom Science Idle

Paper Airplane Touches Edge of Space, Glides Back 158

itwbennett writes "Brits Steve Daniels, John Oates and Lester Haines just became the envy of geeks the world over. The trio 'built a one-wing glider from paper, lofted it to the edge of space at 90,000 feet with a helium balloon, and posted sound and video recordings from the plane as it glided safely back to the ground,' writes blogger Kevin Fogarty. The Register newspaper sponsored the stunt and reported each step of the process. And British defense-contractor Qinetiq supplied the cameras and testing chambers, says Fogarty."
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Paper Airplane Touches Edge of Space, Glides Back

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  • DUDE! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by cryoman23 ( 1646557 )
    that is just down right cool
  • wtf (Score:5, Funny)

    by doughnutguy ( 1886640 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:31PM (#34213322)
    When you said "the edge of space" I thought you meant the border of the universe, so I was all WTF.
  • I found the $13,000 in funding a letdown as the synopsis led me to believe the whole thing was a more home grown affair.

  • Cheat.

  • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:35PM (#34213344) Homepage
    It seems the new cool thing is to take stuff up high in a balloon and drop it. I must say I'd love to do it too, but it doesn't seem very newsworthy anymore.
    • by SixDimensionalArray ( 604334 ) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @12:21AM (#34213538)

      I would hope that we would rather consider the meaning of the fact that the general public has an interest in reaching space again, and by doing it themselves. Sure, maybe a balloon to the upper reaches of the atmosphere is not anywhere close to launching an Atlas rocket, but I for one am glad that people are still dreaming, and experimenting!

      • I would hope that we would rather consider the meaning of the fact that the general public has an interest in reaching space again, and by doing it themselves.

        The problem is, that's not a fact - it's an opinion.

        • Sure, you're right. Perhaps it's a bit of wishful thinking showing through. Nitpicking aside, is it not a positive trend that we are getting annoyed by stories of people trying to send up these balloons? There has to be some reason multiple people have been motivated to do more of these "experiments" or whatever you want to call them. I'm HOPING it's because they are interested in space, science, and fun.

      • by RichiH ( 749257 )

        > but I for one am glad that people are still dreaming, and experimenting!

        Until your plane hits one of those experiments. Or something drops on you from 20 km height.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Sure, they might be interested in space, for very low values of interested and very low values of space. Frankly it looks like mankind reached a pinnacle 50 years ago, and now is going nowhere fast with the general public being happy with mediocre non-original results.
      • by Plekto ( 1018050 )

        I would hope that we would rather consider the meaning of the fact that the general public has an interest in reaching space again, and by doing it themselves.

        People have always wanted to get into space ever since they knew that it was possible to do so.

        What really seems to have happened is that people have finally realized that our government lacks the will to do it any more and so they've done what people have eventually always done in this scenario, which is to do it themselves. I'm just waiting for one

      • Well it's not an Atlas but how about a 1/10 scale Saturn V [popularmechanics.com] with eight 13,000 Newton-second N-Class motors and a 77,000 Newton-second P-Class motor, that stands 36 ft tall and weighs 1648 pounds and flew to an altitude of 4440 feet?

    • by Target Practice ( 79470 ) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @12:23AM (#34213546)

      Well, now it just depends on what you drop from that height. Think international Lawn Darts.

      • with slashdot reporting, the headline will probably be 'father and son build and launch orbital weaponsplatform for two weeks allowance'

  • When I first read that headline, I thought, "Impossible!" Then it gradually dawned on me that they meant the near edge of space. As in the boundary of our atmosphere. Not the far edge of space, as in the boundary of the universe.
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:58PM (#34213466) Journal

    What's next, Slinky down side of Everest?

  • Jet streams? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tarantinofan ( 1596511 ) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @12:13AM (#34213508)
    Wouldn't this paper glider have encountered jet streams? How did it survive them? https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Jet_stream [wikimedia.org]
    • Re:Jet streams? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @12:22AM (#34213544) Homepage

      A bit similarly to how you can, in fact, breathe inside a speeding bullet-train or an airplane. Speed relative to the ground isn't everything...

  • Newspaper? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rueger ( 210566 ) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @12:51AM (#34213670) Homepage
    I am more than a bit astonished that Slashdot eds, much less the poster would refer to El Reg [theregister.co.uk] as a "newspaper."

    Do none of these people honestly know that The Register is one long lived, entertaining, and generally informative tech web site, and that it was the creator of the ever popular and true to life adventures of BOFH? [theregister.co.uk]

    Oh right, their URL ends with .co.uk, so they're not Amurrican....
  • After Hall and Oates broke up and now I know.
  • ..is take this technique meta.

    Use a weather balloon to lift a weather balloon to the edge of space, then have the weather balloon release the weather balloon and then... ... uh, go to the pub and have a Bass Ale.

  • Drop a sackful of regular paper airplanes made of some fluorescent 8.5 x 11 sheets (or A4 for you Brits), with a phone number printed on them, and see who calls.

  • Ah, this 'story' is typical Register... overblown, late, with too large an idea of its own importance and not very funny. And haven't they gone to town on it, with reports on testing etc. Why so much focus? Ah, I see, sponsored by big web host and big space contractor...
  • Sorry to burst everyone's bubble, but it has an airframe and the skin is some kind of foil. It's not a paper airplane by any reasonable interpretation.
  • The headline is completely accurate for large values of edge.

  • How far did it fly? Where did it land?
  • I've only been able to find photo stills on the link provided (goes to flickr). Has anyone else found the video or sound recordings provided at that link?

  • I usually have lots of satirical rhetoric and other such mumbo jumbo to such stories but in this case I only have two words to say: WOW COOL

Real wealth can only increase. -- R. Buckminster Fuller