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Romford Star Wars fans send model plane towards space

PUBLISHED: 09:47 11 May 2015 | UPDATED: 09:47 11 May 2015

The model X-wing near the edge of the atmosphere.

The model X-wing near the edge of the atmosphere.

Archant

It has long been the dream of many Star Wars fans, including this author, to fly an X-wing into space.

It has long been the dream of many Star Wars fans, including this author, to fly an X-wing into space.

On April 21 two men from Romford turned this dream into a reality, when they sent the Rebels’ finest fighter towards the edge of the atmosphere via a small helium balloon.

The short video the pair posted on Youtube has now got more than 350,000 views.

Phil St Pier, of Rise Park, Romford explained that he and Matt Kingsnorth, now of Cameron Close, Brentwood, initially only intended to send a Go Pro up.

Phil St Pier and Matt Kingsnorth after the crash landing of their X-wing.Phil St Pier and Matt Kingsnorth after the crash landing of their X-wing.

The 35-year-old said: “The original idea was to put a Go Pro on a balloon into space and get some good shots of earth, as we are amateur astronomers.

“We found you can get all the bits and bobs online and we put three cameras and a GPS tracker on so we could see exactly where it was, and what it was recording.”

In total the project, called Helium Tears, only cost the pair £1,200.

The Star Wars inspiration came from the new film The Force Awakens’ trailer.

The model X-wing near the edge of the atmosphere.The model X-wing near the edge of the atmosphere.

“When we saw the new trailer we decided we had got to put an X-wing in space,” Phil explained enthusiastically.

“We did not tell anyone about it and it was not the main part of the project.”

The helium balloon, with the X-wing attached, was sent off from Cambridge University and spent over two hours in the air.

It reached 36,000m (118,000ft) of altitude before eventually landing in a field between Bedford and Northampton relatively unscathed. The force must have been with it.

Phil and Matt’s X-wing video went viral instantly and has now been reported all over the world, from Australia to Russia.

The pair included a message in the video asking the director of the new Star Wars film, JJ Abrams, for tickets to the premiere.

Phil continued: “Putting the message in was a bit nerve wracking. I was just thinking oh my god, has JJ seen it?”

Luckily the duo have got until December for JJ to send them the tickets.

To see the X-wing’s full journey click here.


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