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A private Manchester group is getting closer to their ambitious goal — to circumnavigate the globe with a low-altitude helium balloon.


Manchester Space Programme

The Manchester Space Programme got its start one Thursday night in 2013, after a small community group decided they wanted to explore space.

They were founded on the premise that space and near-space exploration should not be limited to large institutions or governments.

So, they set out for a series of high-altitude helium balloon launches so that they could take photos of the Earth and outer space from the stratosphere (technically the “edge of space”) to try to get people interested in space exploration.

Still meeting every Thursday night at MadLab (after their day jobs), the group has successfully launched a number of high-altitude helium balloon missions. They’ve managed to take some incredible photos of the Earth from the black of the stratosphere, like this.


Around the world in ?? days

The current mission of the Manchester group is to circle the world with a low-altitude helium balloon. The plan is to launch into the jet stream, following the west-to-east track of the balloon using GPS and adjusting its progress as needed through a micro-controller.


PicoNauts for the kids

The Manchester Space Programme also offers experiment kits for schools, so that students can build their own high-altitude helium balloon experiment and take interest in exploring near-space for themselves!


Follow the low-altitude helium balloon

To stay up to date on the mission to circle the world with their low-altitude helium balloon, follow Manchester Space Program on Twitter, @mcrspaceprog.


Wholesale helium for retail chains stores Zephyr helium quote

Sources: Manchester Space Programme, Twitter @mcrspaceprog, YouTube/Mancunian Matters