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Bourne Middle School Students Send Camera Into Space

By Bill Shields, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Bill Shields Bill Shields
Bill Shields is a general assignment reporter for WBZ-TV News. He...
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BOURNE (CBS) – Fifth grade students usually have some pretty interesting science projects. But how about one that involves sending a camera into space, taking pictures, then retrieving it?

Well, that’s exactly what the fifth graders at Bourne Middle School did this week.

“It’s really a lot of fun,” Callie Sullivan said.

Back in September, one of their teachers, Larry Palmer suggested they do something along those lines.

And to help, Palmer scored a $2,000 grant from NASA. Then the kids got to work.

Web Extra: Watch highlights of the ascent and descent

They built a box, outfitted it with a “Go Pro” camera and a still camera, and placed a GPS tracking device inside.

On Thursday morning, on the New York-Connecticut border, Palmer and some of the kids attached the space ship to a helium balloon, and let it go.

The box took high definition pictures and video all the way into space – 100,000 feet above the ground.

The balloon eventually burst, and a parachute deployed.

A second group of kids, stationed back at school, started tracking the descent.

Two hours later, the box landed on Sandy Neck in Barnstable. Tow “recovery teams” set out in the dunes to find it.

They successfully retrieved the cameras, along with their mascot, “Space Snoopy”.

“For us to accomplish something like this feels great,” said student Zoe Janicki, “because a lot of people didn’t think we could do it.”

“It was an opportunity to give the kids a mind-blowing experience,” said Palmer, “and get them interested in science, and math, and engineering. I hope it inspires them to believe there are no boundaries to what they can do.”

Back at school, the pictures were uploaded into a computer, then the kids watched in amazement as their box with cameras ascended into space.

They saw the helium-filled balloon burst, the parachute deploy, and the moving pictures all the way back to earth.

It’s an experience they say they’ll never forget.

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