It was not too long ago when capturing images from Space was thought to be the forte of professional astronauts. Lately however, amateur space enthusiasts have become savvy enough to do the same, using ingenious homemade gadgets, like Teddy Bears and now, a paper airplane!
Though it was constructed completely out of stiff paper and straws, the Vulture 1 was not a plain vanilla fold-up paper plane, but a rather complex design, complete with framework, fuselage and even a toy plastic pilot. Attached to the airplane was a Styrofoam payload box that contained a video, a miniature camera, a GPS tracking unit, a back-up beacon transmitter and, a release mechanism.
The brainchild of three British Space buffs, the Project Paris (Paper Aircraft released into Space) airplane was launched from a field outside Madrid, Spain on October 28th, and transported up to just over 89,000 feet, by a helium balloon. At this point, thanks to the low-pressure environment, the balloon burst and the airplane and its payload glided down gracefully to Pelayos Dam, about 40 miles away from the original launch site. Along the way, the tiny airplane took some incredible pictures of the scenery.
The three men were happy to find the airplane and its pilot intact and quite pleased to see the quality of images it captured, during its short, 90-minute stint to Space.