This is the way to get kids involved in science. The fact that it's Hello Kitty is just a bonus!
Do schools do this sort of thing in the UK? I've seen several such stories from the US, but I don't think I've seen anything like this here.
A 13-year-old Hello Kitty fan has made her mark in the world of High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) by sending her fave feline toy to a heady 28,537m (93,625ft). The Hello Kitty in its rocket Seventh-grader Lauren Rojas, of Cornerstone Christian School in Antioch, California, hit the heights for a class assignment designed to …
It might be a regulatory thing with the airspace, anything going that high will be passing through controlled airspace if it's anywhere over the UK, not sure what it's like in the USA.
The CAA might be inclined to allow it if suitably NOTAMed etc., but a free balloon could be too unpredictable for them.
The CAA do give permission (and issued an associated NOTAM) for such flights in the UK. So long as the launch site isn't anywhere silly (e.g. close to an airport) and there aren't any other restrictions on the airspace (e.g. launch site is on a flypath to an air show) then permission would normally be given. Often the permission requires ATC to be notified before the launch.
A lot of it could be geography - The US has a lot of wide open spaces where a falling payload won't cause any more damage than a few broken twigs, but the UK is a bit more cramped. Add in the fact that predicting where the payload might go and ensuring it doesn't end up somewhere inaccessible (e.g. in the North Sea, up a mountain, etc) is a bit harder.
Finally, let's add in that there are lot more US kids than UK kids so it only makes sense we hear more of them having fun & playing with this kind of tech.
"The CAA might be inclined to allow it if suitably NOTAMed etc"
Doubtful they'd care, even if an aircraft hit it, which the odds are extremely small - shouldn't be a big deal. I used to do rockets and very high altitude kites, the main deal is not near airports. It's fairly easy to find the main aviation routes anyway if you really want to avoid air traffic. Big chunk of the country doesn't have much air traffic anyway, even at the worst of times - but you can always do it on something like Christmas Day and weekends you get no military aviation at all hardly.
I think there may be a cost issue here as well.
The cameras alone on this mission would have cost a fair bit, not sure the average UK school could stretch to that right now.
However, I agree with the sentiment. This pretty much means anyone can set up and execute their own mission to space these days. If there is one thing that would get kids interested, it would be carrying out things like this.
They would learn about science and (possibly) not even notice!!
"Families are generally better off"
The percentage of people below the poverty line in the US, as defined by the US government, is higher than the UK. Many people, especially in the inner city are staggeringly poor by international standards. That's despite the lower cost of living in the US. The streets of the US are not paved with gold.
I know it's OT but I couldn't let that fallacy pass without comment.
As the little lass attends a religious school, I would expect her examination to resemble the following:
1. Did Kitty see the face of God? If not, why not?
2. How high is Heaven, and can it be reached by a balloon?
3. Which prayers contributed to the success of your project? List all that you applied.
4. Essay question! Explain how this project will make you a better wife and homemaker.
I'm not sure I agree totally.
Yes we need more *people* and those people should be the most competent of the available selection, but we should be doing more to get girls interested at an age where they can do something about becoming one of those competent applicants.
And not get comments like 'What do you mean you work in <insert mail dominated profession here>, you're a woman.'
The amount of times I have had to explain myself for picking my career is not fun (admittedly it is mainly from the ageing generation and not people my own age...)
We need more women in compsci. Genuinely don't understand why women don't find it interesting. Engineering not so much, complete waste of time. I say this as a male who used to be an engineer. Any women getting into engineering in the UK right now is going to be spending the rest of her life dodging redundancy and competing with Chinese engineers to the floor as regards to low pay.
Don't do it.
Ignore Dyson too. There are plenty of great engineers in this country and there's no work for them because of people like Dyson who want you to work for 10p/hour, so they send all the work to Asia instead because obviously you're not going to do that.
If that is the little reservoir I think it is, then I know where Hello Kitty came back to Earth! It would have been a bit of a hole in one if they hit the reservoir, its basically hills and trees with the exception of that one little irrigation reservoir. But perhaps I am wrong, because that reservoir seems rather far south if they launched from around Antioch.
"...You'll be banning lol, all smilies and other abreviated greetings next?.."
I wouldn't ban LOL outright, but I would introduce a legal requirement for anyone using it to show that they did actually "laugh out loud" at whatever 'amusing' statement they have just made or read. Rather than, say, very slightly curl their lips up at the corner.
Similar documentary evidence would also have to be produced for ROFL and LMAO.
[Straight-mouthed smiley as, writing on the intarwebs, he would doubtless describe his own demeanour as LOLing, ROFLing or LMAOing]
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