PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
  • Paper Airplane Touches Space

    Here is how the earth looks from an altitude about 80,000 feet, shot by a camera on a small model plane called Vulture 1. A small group of British enthusiasts built the plane and launched it into the sky over Spain with a helium balloon. At high altitude, where the air is very thin, the balloon expanded and popped, and the plane came gliding to the ground. They called their project PARIS (Paper Aircraft Released Into Space), and joked that it would "reinvigorate the British space race."
    PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
  • Paper Airplane Touches Space

    A composite image of the view from the PARIS plane as it flew about 15 miles above the countryside near Madrid, Spain. This picture was made from several consecutive images shot by a small Kodak camera carried by the plane, stitched together with computer software by Jon Grove, a member of the team. They had backing from <a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/" target="external">The Register</a>, a British website.
    PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
  • Paper Airplane Touches Space

    A view closer to the ground, shot with an off-the-shelf pocket camera carried on the plane. The glider, named Vulture 1, had wings about three feet across, and carried three small cameras programmed to shoot at regular intervals.
    PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
  • Paper Airplane Touches Space

    Vulture 1 was billed as a paper plane, but it was also made with drinking straws, insulating foam, paint, and lots of glue. Posing with it from left: Steve Daniels, John Oates and Lester Haines, the three organizers of the project.
    PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
  • Paper Airplane Touches Space

    The team gave the plane a "pilot," a little plastic figure they nicknamed "Playmonaut." Here he is, superimposed on a picture of NASA's 1960s-era X-15 plane. The X-15 went more than 50 miles into space and had real pilots, among them a young Neil Armstrong.
    PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
  • Paper Airplane Touches Space

    Vulture 1's "cockpit" as it was being put together. The fuselage was square, about four inches high and three feet long. The ribs are paper straws glued together.
    PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
  • Paper Airplane Touches Space

    Off she goes. Vulture 1, which had no engine, was carried into the air by a helium balloon. As it reached an altitude of about 90,000 feet (a bit less than 20 miles), above 90 percent of the atmosphere, the balloon expanded for lack of air pressure around it and eventually burst, sending the plane with its cameras gliding back to earth.
    PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
  • Paper Airplane Touches Space

    At high altitudes, there is air, but it is so thin that the sky appears to be black. The plane descended steeply until there was enough air to provide lift.
    PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
  • Paper Airplane Touches Space

    The members of the project said they worried that their plane might glide for hundreds of miles if the wind carried it. Instead, it landed just 23 miles from its launch site. They tracked it with a GPS beacon and a small telescope.
    PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
  • Paper Airplane Touches Space

    The mountains of central Spain as the Vulture 1 descended. The point-and-shoot Canon A560 camera used for this picture is an off-the-shelf model, modified with a timer to take pictures on its own.
    PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
  • Paper Airplane Touches Space

    The last picture taken by the plane as it descended into a bank of clouds.
    PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
  • Paper Airplane Touches Space

    Return to earth: The Vulture 1 was equipped with a small GPS beacon so its makers could find it after landing. It came to rest under a tree in the woods about 20 miles from Madrid.
    PARIS project, courtesy of http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/paris/
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