A science project was quite literally on top of the world when it managed to take amazing pictures from 11 miles up.
An after-school club at King Edward VI Five Ways School, in Bartley Green, Birmingham, launched a balloon from Kinver Edge equipped with a GPS tracker and a camera to see what, if any, images could be captured.
But the team was delighted when the mission proved a success, the balloon soaring into the air and the camera eventually landing more than 100 miles away in North Yorkshire.
The project took 10 weeks to plan and the team even had to get permission from the Civil Aviation Authority in case the balloon interfered with flight paths.
The pupils estimate that the balloon reached the stratosphere – an altitude of about 60,000ft – before the camera returned to earth by parachute.
Teacher Tom Jeavons said: “There were 11 pupils who all had their own individual roles to play. They came after school every Tuesday to be a part of the club and to help plan and shape the project.
“As well as taking photos of the upper atmosphere – at about 60,000ft – the pupils decided that they were going to send the first ever Barbie into space, and very creatively made a space suit for the doll.
“Unfortunately due to weight limitations on launch day, Barbie had to be abandoned, but the rest of the trip was an astounding success.
“We launched from Kinver Edge on a Tuesday afternoon and the flight lasted roughly three and a half hours, at which point the balloon burst and the camera box parachuted back to earth and landed in a field in north Yorkshire.”
Mr Jeavons enlisted relatives to help recover the balloon after it came back to earth in Yorkshire.
He said: “We had a GPS tracker in the box so we could track it down after it landed. We saw it go into the clouds about 30 minutes after launch, and then managed to follow its path using the tracker.
“It lost transmission over Leeds, which is when it would have been roughly 60,000ft above the Earth.
“It ended up landing near Malton, which is just north of York. Fortunately I had some relatives who were more than happy to go and find it.
“After an hour’s searching in waist high grass, they found the box and cameras undamaged and we have some amazing photos from it.
“We were incredibly lucky to succeed as so much can go wrong and be miscalculated. But the photos we did get back are breathtaking.”
Pupil Roisin Murphy, 13, said: “I really enjoyed our project because it was new and interesting. I learnt a lot and the pictures that came back were amazing.”