Teen sends his satellite into space

Alexander Forythe monitoring his satellite.
Alexander Forythe monitoring his satellite.

A SCHOOLBOY is celebrating cracking the final frontier by sending an egg-sized satellite into space.

Alexander Forsythe, 13, from Bede Academy in Blyth, is awaiting the return of his hi-tech sensors which fell to Earth and have been recovered from the Sierra Nevada desert.

He will then analyse the information from his ping pong-sized data-loggers, which were carried into space in a helium balloon to collect information about the power of the sun.

Alexander, Bede’s Engineer of the Year, spent five days working with PhD students at Newcastle University creating a sun sensor as the prize for his achievements in school, which has an engineering specialism.

His work aims to calculate and compare the benefits of solar panels installed within the Earth’s atmosphere as opposed to in space.

“The ‘Pong-sat’ had to contain a microchip and sensors to test and measure solar flux no larger than could be contained in a table tennis ball,” he said.

“It was carried up to the edge of the atmosphere by a weather balloon, which eventually burst, sending the satellites parachuting back to Earth.

“I can’t wait to get the results back.”

Bede Academy assistant vice-principal Alan Corner added: “Alexander has an incredible understanding of electronic engineering at a very young age and it is amazing to think that he has put a satellite into space.

“It’s hard to imagine the science he is likely to be involved with when he is an adult.”

Bede Academy has been chosen as one of just four schools to host the British Science Festival’s Ideas Take Flight event next year.