Media Release: World record attempt not just pi in the sky

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A TEAM of Forth Valley College computer students hope their innovative world record attempt will not just be pi in the sky.

BSc Applied Computing trio Connor Cullen-Young (18) from Louth, Republic of Ireland, Daniel McCrorie(18) from Denny, and Gary Hunter (26) from Carron in Falkirk, will attempt to send a high-altitude balloon attached with a £25 Raspberry Pi micro-computer into space during the weekend of 11 and 12 April from the Stair Estates, Castle Kennedy, Stranraer.

Saturday the 11 April will be a videography flight, while the Sunday is the altitude record attempt.

Says a spokesperson: “This is currently set at 44,376.01metres, although weather may prove to be the biggest challenge at this time of year.

“Originally, used in education to teach coding, the Raspberry Pi can be adapted to operate as a balloon tracker capable of passing live images back from the balloon as it flies.

“The weather balloon will rise to above 30,000metres – three times the height of a commercial plane – recording its flight with an on-board camera, before bursting as the Hydrogen inside the balloon expands.

“The camera and computer fall back to earth cushioned by a parachute and land gently between 30 to 100 miles away, dependant on winds.”

The students are also participating in a Global Space Balloon challenge, which brings together over 200 teams, across 17 days to compete and share knowledge, with prizes given for different categories afterwards.

Gary Hunter said: “We have planned and designed the whole project from initial idea to launch, using off the shelf products.

“Project management, computing, mathematics, engineering and teamwork skills are all being utilised with the aim of producing a high definition video and educational pack to be made available for schools or other interested parties who would like to replicate the idea.

“We have been well supported by various departments within the Collegewho have provided us with their business, media and technical skills to help the project.”

The event will be conducted under closed conditions to the public due to the nature of the balloon, and will take place on Stair Estate’s own airfield – utilising their World War II era aircraft hangars to fill the balloon and use the adjacent runway and field for a smooth launch.

For more information visit our website which will be posted over the coming days. Alternatively, all questions can be sent to

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Forth Valley College contact details…

Contact: Laura Riley
Phone: 01324403121