Is it a (live) bird? Is it a plane? No it's a pair of crochet budgerigars in Space!
KD's Alex and his team have accomplished an extraordinary feat, all in the name of charity. Forget sending monkeys or humans into space, this time it was (crocheted) budgies pioneering the way!
The team built a payload to hook up to a metrological balloon with the aim of getting a video of the aforementioned budgies against a back drop of the curvature of the earth and the darkness of space. Target altitude was 32,000 meters (105,000 ft). Around this height the balloon then bursts and the budgies float back down under a parachute.The launch took place at Selsley common near Stroud on the 25th June.
The whole project is aimed at generating funds for The Childrens Hospice South West (http://www.chsw.org.uk/). The crochet budgerigars were used in a previous project and the idea this time was initially to get them pictured in as many unusual place as possible. However, following the successful space mission, sponsorship of the space footage and of future launches is now being offered.
Watch the space mission here.
The next mission came two months later when another pair of budgies headed to Camp Bestival. They were scheduled to do a balloon flight whilst streaming live footage of the festival site to large screens being watched by the crowd below. A different crew of Budgies was selected for this launch as it was looking like it may be a suicide mission with a high chance of a water landing.
Not only did the streaming work up to around 9000ft, but before their flight the budgies got to meet Rolf Harris! Dreams do come true.
The navigational skills of the budgies were tested during this flight as the wind near the launch site -near Lulworth on the South coast- was blowing the knitted creatures along the coast, over the Isle of Wight and possibly to a watery grave. However, during the flight the budgies showed supreme skills and despite managing to reach approximately 33,000 meters, they landed about 1 mile inland and dry. Just about.
Watch the stunning footage of these two little budgies' adventure here.
Being a much longer and higher flight this time, the budgies picked an appropriate landing spot in which to celebrate their ground-breaking venture...a pub garden. The pub was well picked with an Avian theme: The Cuckoo Pint, on Cockoo lane near Fareham.
*No budgies were harmed in the making of this film.