back to article Schoolgirl's Hello Kitty catonaut soars to 93,000ft

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 …

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  1. Bumpy Cat
    Thumb Up

    Excellent

    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.

    1. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: Excellent

      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.

      1. daveake

        Re: Excellent

        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.

        1. John Riddoch

          Re: Excellent

          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.

      2. streaky Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Excellent

        "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.

    2. 1Rafayal

      Re: Excellent

      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!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Excellent

        Indeed. GoPro HDs are about £200 a pop. But then we all know that in the US stuff is generally cheaper, plus families are generally better off due to it not being an overcrowded country, so house prices and fuel is cheaper.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Excellent

          "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.

          1. John Savard Silver badge

            Re: Excellent

            The poor are poorer in the United States, yes, but there are also many more people who are quite well-off.

        2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Excellent

          Antioch is in the SF Bay Area, though on the outer edges of it. So as far as the "housing prices are cheap" argument goes, I am afraid you will have to try again.

          Hello Kitty has broken the surly bonds of Earth, to rub up against the leg of God......

          1. ian 22
            Headmaster

            Re: Excellent

            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.

            1. Andrew Williams
              Thumb Down

              Re: Excellent

              Traffic, go, play. You're a worthless ping of bitter.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Excellent

      >Do schools do this sort of thing in the UK?

      The kids are too busy playing Xbox and inbreeding more inbred morons.

    4. Robevan

      Re: Excellent

      Cambridge University spaceflight club with students at Parkside and Coleridge secondary schools 2008. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/3548363/Teddy-bears-in-space-first-pictures.html

  2. FartingHippo
    Happy

    Balloon burst

    That's an amazing shot of the balloon burst.

    (And awwwww).

    1. EddieD

      Re: Balloon burst

      Abso-bloody- lutely - I was trying to work out what it was...adn then I read the blurb.

      Cracking shot!

      1. Asiren

        Re: Balloon burst

        For a second I thought they'd gotten photographic evidence of The Great Noodle in the Sky!

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Balloon burst - best evidence

          for a deity yet!

        2. Martin Budden
          Thumb Up

          Re: Balloon burst

          I for one immediately thought FSM!!!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Top work

    That's some good work, we need more Women in engineering in the West and particularly more Hello Kitty. (Yes, I am a sucker for anything Japanese)

    1. Armando 123

      Re: Top work

      Actually, we just need more PEOPLE in engineering, particularly motivated, competent people.

      1. Stacy
        Meh

        Re: Top work

        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...)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Top work

          "Mail dominated profession"? Do you work in the Post Office? ;-)

          1. Stacy
            Facepalm

            Re: Top work

            Note to self... Learn to proof read! :)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Devil

              Re: Top work

              A tea lady works in the fields of science and engineering.

              Without which, science would have gone back to the plasticine error.

        2. Michael Thibault
          Headmaster

          Re: Top work

          "the amount of times"? "Times", being a count noun, rather than a non-count noun, strongly suggests the use of "the number of times" instead. (It's only grammar--hence the icon--, but) I'm concerned there may be analogues to this small error in the STEM fields.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. streaky Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Top work

          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.

  4. John Robson Silver badge

    Very nearly a very wet landing....

    Pretty good shots of the thin blue line...

  5. Mostly_Harmless Silver badge

    Lucky Landing

    Not far at all from a watery grave for Kitty

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: Lucky Landing

      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.

  6. adam payne Silver badge

    Anything that can get kids involved in science is great.

  7. daveake

    Hydrogen FTW

    Yes, that's a nice bright red cylinder full of hydrogen goodness.

    1. The First Dave
      Stop

      Re: Hydrogen FTW

      Repeat after me: "FTW is not a word."

      1. Silverburn
        Go

        Re: Hydrogen FTW

        Repeat after me: "Pedantry is not always required."

        You'll be banning lol, all smilies and other abreviated greetings next?

        GAL.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Meh

          Re: Hydrogen FTW

          "...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]

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hydrogen FTW

            You should watch David Mitchel's soap box on the subject of LOL

          2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

            Re: Hydrogen FTW

            Would it be too cheeky to inquire if LMAO would require a snap of the entire arse disconnected or is a single free falling buttock satisfactory? Or perhaps could it have something to do with donkeys as well?

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Hydrogen FTW

              I'll ask my mate up at Hogwarts, Nearly Laughed My Arse Off Nick.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Joke

              Re: Hydrogen FTW @ Eddy Ito @14:54

              Perhaps we should let Mr. Haines answer that question.

            3. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

              Re: Re: Hydrogen FTW

              This requires some thought. We have a range of options from a slight loosening of one buttock to a full double detachment. Either way, it is indeed time to settle this meatiest of matters.

              1. Andus McCoatover
                Joke

                Re: Hydrogen FTW

                Buttoc' course it is!

          3. Swarthy Silver badge
            Go

            Re: Hydrogen FTW (@madra)

            Similar documentary evidence would also have to be produced for ROFL and LMAO.

            ..I'll let you be the keeper of evidence for PMSL, I'll have no part of that mess.

      2. Jon Double Nice

        Re: Hydrogen FTW

        FTW INAW Shirley?

      3. vorophobe
        FAIL

        Re: Hydrogen FTW

        You're right - it's not a word, it's an acronym. So what? People can't use acronyms anymore? Did I miss the memo?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Trollface

          Abbreviation, damnit...

          It's a bloody abbreviation, not an acronym.

        2. Sam 15

          Re: Hydrogen FTW

          Obviously you did.

          Do I have to spell it out for you?

          1. The First Dave
            Headmaster

            Re: Hydrogen FTW

            Probably - it makes no sense as far as I can see.

  8. Chris Phillips

    Note to self...

    Arborist != Abortionist

  9. ukgnome Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    catonaut

    We salute you!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: catonaut

      Actually, not a very clever coining.

      '-naut' comes from the Greek for sailor. A "catonaut" would therefore be a person who navigates cats - that is the wrong image entirely.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. veti Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: catonaut

        No, a 'catonaut' ('katanaut') would be a home-loving person who is against sailing entirely. Or possibly a submariner, who sails in a downward direction.

        One who navigates cats would be an 'ailonaut'.

        This comment brought to you by the Overwhelming Urge to Counterpedantry.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: catonaut - worse

        The root "cat" means away from or downwards. So a catonaut would be a sinking sailor. This one is merely an aeronaut.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: catonaut - worse

          Hats off to you both!

    2. Michael Thibault
      Thumb Up

      Re: catonaut

      Let me correct that:

      "Konichiwa, Kitty".

      No?

      How about:

      "Kitty 名誉"

      ?

  10. Richard Ball
    Thumb Up

    Very good work. Well done to kids, teacher and school.

    Obviously in an ideal world the teacher would just use his gun(s) to get it down out of the tree though...

    1. Pookietoo

      re: Well done to kids, teacher and school.

      I was under the impression it was one kid and her dad - no school involved.

  11. CarlC

    Awesome - what a spectacular project

  12. Ross K Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    A Purrfect Way...

    ...to get young girls interested in science.

    It could have been a cat-astrophic end to the mission if Hello Kitty had gone in the drink.

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: if Hello Kitty had gone in the drink

      She was sitting on a chunk of expanded polystyrene, so wouldn't have a problem as long as the electronics survived.

      1. Ross K Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: if Hello Kitty had gone in the drink

        Jeez. There's always one anal-retentive in the audience who needs a sense of humour transplant, isn't there?

        I'll put on a "joke alert" icon next time I make a post like that - just so you know you don't need to disprove whatever facetious comment I just made.

    2. southpacificpom
      Devil

      Re: A Purrfect Way...

      If it landed in a dog turd it would now be called Hello Shitty Kitty.

  13. Arnie

    two words

    Fookin awesome

  14. Tank boy
    Thumb Up

    Nicely done! Nice story.

  15. ohh nooo
    Thumb Up

    I'm sure Felix would approve of Kitty's flight :-)

  16. Bill Fresher
    Thumb Up

    I also love Hello Kitty.

  17. Mister_C
    Coat

    Kitty in a tree?

    Isn't that a job for the fire department?

    OK, I'm going

  18. heyrick Silver badge

    Hmm...

    Plays in the Android browser, but not the YouTube app because.... The content owner has not made this content available on mobiles. Go figure...

    Otherwise, Go Kitty!

    1. Smileyvirus

      Re: Hmm...

      That's a youtube thing, when you use copyrighted music you have to allow ads and ads don't playback on the app, so ad supported stuff doesn't either.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OT: I adore cats

    but THIS monster has an impact range much worse than a barbie. And I say this as a father of a 5 year old girl :(

  20. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Kittiiiieeeees in spaaaaace!

    10/10 to all concerned.

  21. Johnny Canuck

    Those GoPro cameras are fantastic

    They're everywhere today.

    1. Michael Thibault

      Re: Those GoPro cameras are fantastic

      They appear to be breeding, chez Lauren--or Dad has a bit of a tech fetish--but, alas, none have been seen anywhere near my place.

  22. Philip Lewis
    Thumb Up

    Fucking brilliant - meaow!

    see heading!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    That is THE BEST video I have seen to date. Awesome video, music, everything edited together perfect.

  24. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    Now, the fourth picture is conclusive proof...

    ..of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Firstly, it's obviously flying, and it's reaching down with a couple of Noodly Appendages to hold Worthy Midgets firmy on Terra Firma.

    Enough proof for me. I'm now a Pastafarian! All I need now is an anointment of the Holy Ketchup.

    (Seriously, nice job!)

  25. Martin Budden
    Thumb Up

    beep beep beep beep beep

    Was the audible beeping to aid location of the landed craft? If so, it's an excellent idea, one that LOHAN should steal use.

    1. MajorTom
      Thumb Up

      Re: beep beep beep beep beep

      This is a good idea from the world of high-powered rocketry (engine class H and up). No radios, GPS or other fancy gadgets needed...just start hiking in the direction you saw the parachute descending, and listen for the beeps. Cheap, light, and simple.

  26. southpacificpom
    Paris Hilton

    Me-owch!

  27. Sokolik
    Thumb Up

    Girl Power!

    Girl Power Rocks...Again!

    -- a fortunate father gifted with two of the finest daughters a man could want

    and son of a woman born into a time and place where, despicably, women were no more than chattel

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personally

    I think this young girl is one sick puppy, or should that be kitty. Sending your favourite toy of seven years into the wild unknown is despicable, mother-in-law I can understand, favourite toy, sick.

    Didn't she do any research about the dangers involved? Had show done so and learned of the the fate of our own very brave highly trained playmonaut she might have had second thoughts.

    How does she treat her other toys?

    1. Sokolik
      Thumb Up

      Re: Personally

      "From now on, you must take good care of your toys, because if you don't, we'll find out, Sid!"

  29. The elephant in the room
    Thumb Up

    The best amature high-altitude footage I have seen yet!

    Well done!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE. Re. Personally

    I'd have put a coincidence detector on there to measure cosmic radiation.

    SBM21 tubes are pretty lightweight, one on each end of the craft would be fine.

    AC/DC 6EQUJ5

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