It’s All Go at “Cape Kebaberal” in Sheffield…

A photograph showing Azuma Makoto bonsai sent into space in 2014.Lift-Off!

Florida has Cape Canaveral, and now it seems the UK city of Sheffield has a new space port dubbed “Cape Kebaberal”.  The name was inspired by the favourite student food of Alex Baker and Chris Rose, who run the Sheffield-based company SentIntoSpace

Exploring space is a big part of popular culture, as demonstrated with global events like Felix Baumgartner’s free-fall – a record stealthily broken by Google – and Rosetta‘s Philae probe comet landing, and science-fiction films (including the recent Interstellar and Gravity) have regularly topped the box office over the years.

Meanwhile, Virgin is working on going beyond airlines with a “spaceline for Earth” under its Galactic division – which recently caused the death of a pilot and injury of another when a malfunction occurred during a test flight.

And people have been sending all manners of things up for a space ride recently: a baseball, a lamb chop, a bonsai…

Now, a Yorkshire-based start-up is on a mission to make the idea of deep space exploration become everyday, with former mechanical engineering students from the University of Sheffield offering flights to customers.  The firm sells high-altitude balloons and accessories.

 

Create Your Own Space Mission with SentIntoSpace

A photograph of Alex Baker and Chris Rose from SentIntoSpace, preparing to launch one of their payloads.
Pre-Launch with Alex Baker and Chris Rose

The flights are only designed to carry up tangible items, and not people.  But pioneering entrepreneurial duo Alex Baker and Chris Rose, the founders of SentIntoSpace, expect the business will be particularly popular as Christmas fast approaches.

For just £134.83 you can get a balloon with GPS tracking device, payload box and parachute.  More expensive packages include a “black box” and a radar reflector to warn off nearby flying aircrafts.

The largest balloon on offer has an inflated radius of 1 m (helium not included).  So I don’t think any people will be lifting off from Cape Kebaberal yet.  The most popular payload seems to be a camera, which will bring back images of the curvature of the Earth’s atmosphere.  Other cargos have included a £12,000 diamond that went up in August and came down somewhere in Lincolnshire.  This was a promotion with a diamond company.

And apparently it IS finders keepers!

Girls!!!  It’s out there… 😀