Inspirational teacher aims high after national attention for ‘iPhone in space’ project

Giles Academy has sent an iPhone into space.
Giles Academy has sent an iPhone into space.

An inspirational science teacher was delighted to attract national attention after he teamed up with pupils to launch an iPhone into space - and already has his sights on more projects.

Head of year eight at Giles Academy Andrew Castley had been working on the project with pupils for two years - and at a charity event on July 1 carried out the launch.

The iPhone – attached to a weather balloon – reached a height of 18 miles, recording its three hour journey and some stunning images of the earth grom above before the balloon popped and the iPhone came down - intact -in Downham Market.

Mr Castley said: “As a science teacher I’m always looking at what can be done to inspire students and we have done things before. The projects just seem to get bigger.”

He said the results were ‘fantastic’ and inspired pupils to enjoy science.

Following the release of the footage the school’s Facebook page achieved more than 4000 likes and the YouTube video posted under Giles Galactic had attracted 1000 views in one day.

After appearing on The Standard’s website last week the story went on to get attention in the national media - featuring on the national BBC Breakfast news.

Mr Castley added: “Everybody wants to talk about it and that’s just what I wanted.”

The team used a number of existing features and applications on the phone to record aspects of the flight including altitude and GPS location. They also used an on-board Eagle Space Flight Computer sensors.

Mr Castley said the launchhad involved the whole school – with year seven’s holding events to raise the funds needed for the £1,000 project, while older students carried out the work.

He said he is now considering hosting a live ‘Facetime’ launch and broadcasting live space footage into the school hall. He also wants to send other items into space, achieving greater heights and also deep sea exploration.