The BBC say that amateur scientists Cassie Phelps and Mark Ireland, from the Forest of Dean, successful launched Santa and Rudolf into near-space 30 km above the Earth.
STRATODEAN report that when Santa finished off the modifications to the 2013 sleigh like all good engineers he opted to test the new changes before rolling it out into production and went to STRATODEAN for help! (It’s been a very well kept secret that they provide technical facilities to all their famous mythical friends. The Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny are already well established customers.)
They were given a clear project remit – to take him up and down on their payload to allow him to test the new handling abilities of his sleigh. Apparently the cost of reindeer propulsion (magic flying dust) has skyrocketed in the last few years and he can only justify the once a year purchase for Christmas due to Mrs Clauses’ bingo habit and the increasing Elf wages. Furthermore, for this test he can only bring Rudolf as the other reindeer are getting on a bit and they need to save their knees.
Watch the STRATODEAN video of the flight
The telemetry downlink from the balloon was on 434.075 MHz using 50 bps 350 Hz shift FSK with ASCII-7 code, 2 stop bits and no parity.
Watch the BBC TV news story – Amateur scientists attach a model of Santa Claus to a weather balloon
Read The Telegraph story at
A video of the STRATODEAN High Altitude Balloon Presentation given by Cassie Phelps and Mark Ireland to the annual AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford last July can be seen at