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MAKE reader James Coxon emailed to tell us about the recent Cambridge University Spaceflight project that teamed up university students with kids from the SPARKS science club to send four teddy bears aloft via helium filled high altitude balloon.

The aim of the experiment was to determine which materials provided the best insulation against the -53 ° C temperatures experienced during the journey. Each of the bears wore a different space suit designed by the 11-13 year olds from SPARKS.

Cambridge University Spaceflight is a student-run society aiming to reduce the cost of sub-orbital spaceflight. They have launched several payloads to near space on high-altitude helium balloons and are currently designing a system to launch a rocket from a balloon platform to outer space for under £1000 per launch. They have run several outreach events and are currently holding the UK Space Challenge 2009, as part of the University of Cambridge’s 800th Anniversary. Twenty four teams of science students aged 14-18 are competing to design a scientific experiment that will be taken to near space on a high-altitude helium balloon.