back to article Flag-waving Lego Canuck soars to 80,000ft

A couple of Canadian teenagers have staked their country's claim on the upper atmosphere by sending a flag-waving Legonaut to 80,000ft (24,384m). Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad, both 17, spent 400 Canadian bucks putting together their high altitude package: three stills cameras, one video camera and a GPS-enabled mobile phone …


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  1. Annihilator Silver badge


    Courtesy of text message to Chris Evans on Radio 2 this morning... "to bold-lego where no-one has gone before..."

    Made me smile anyhoo!

  2. ScottAS2

    To boldly go where no injection-moulded plastic has gone before...

    I hope this doesn't mark the beginning of a small plastic figurine space race. I fear I will be torn between my loyalty to Lego and the Playmobile-using Reg.

  3. Asgard

    Its interesting they achieved 80,000ft but I wish the article had some comparisons with previous efforts. So I looked it up. :)

    PARIS achieved around 90000ft (I had trouble finding this info, (hint, hint, Reg), so in the end, I found the info on the BBC! :)

    MIT's Project Icarus achieved around 92400ft

    Also as a comparison, the Kármán line defines outer space around 327360ft (or 100 km or 62 miles).

    So here's hoping LOHAN can achieve at least 100000ft :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Article : PARIS joins the 17-mile-high club

      Top of page 6

      The Kodak Zx1 battled bravely on, however, and delivered this tremendous footage of the Vulture 1 drop at 89,591ft:

      Effort : 1 Minute

      Hint, hint, I suggest a you undertake a course on researching

      1. Asgard

        @Chris W

        Chris W all I was saying (as this is a site with a lot of readers interested in science) that it would have been nice to include some more numbers in the article, which is a statement which still remains true regardless of what you say.

        As for finding which of the previous 64 PARIS articles had the actual figures in them, a quick Google gave me the BBC article with a near enough estimate to satisfy my curiosity, but still it would have been nice to have some more figures in the news article itself.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          No. You said you had trouble finding information on this site and had to go looking elsewhere, now you say you just googled the information. Either way, I don't think it unreasonable of the readership of El Reg to not require repetition of data in every article especially when the PARIS project has it's own section. Science -> PARIS from the menu at the top, it's even easier because in this article the Science sub-menu is already expanded to show PARIS. And the "PARIS joins the 17-mile-high club" title is a bit of a giveaway as to what might be inside.

          How much leading by the hand do you need?

          In addition the article is about some students launching a legoman to high altitude. There was no mention of a direct comparison between this and the achievment of PARIS so no need to provide figures. As you yourself said, it was curiosity on your part, so your hint that the information should be there just when you need it was irrational.

  4. Pete the not so great
    Thumb Up

    Richard Branston...

    Must be kicking himself.

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Or . . .

      . . . he could be in a pickle.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re; Richard Branson must be kicking himself

      Perhaps one area in which he can outdo the lego man

    3. Captain TickTock


      he should have invested in aerospace instead of pickles...

    4. Fake Ninja

      I fail to see...

      what pickle, or any other condiment, has to do with this story.

    5. Ian Bush

      Certainly looks like he's in a pickle

      1. some vaguely opinionated bloke

        @Fake Ninja

        All I can offer you is a suggestion to compare the surname of the founder of Virgin and the original poster's attempt at the surname of the founder of Virgin. For further context, should it be needed, a visit to hereabouts: may help.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      "...Richard Branston. Must be kicking himself..."

      Does he need any help with that?

  5. Mr Young

    What's the escape velocity at that height?

    I'll maybe be able to convert the Sheeps per vacuum units? Not sure though. Anyway - It's good to see kids do that sort of thing

    1. John Edwards
      Paris Hilton

      More Thrust for Lohan

      Come on El Reg, this is your chance to trounce MIT. To hell with the beer budget, buy some extra rocket motors and send Lohan on a multi stage lift. You know she's worth it. Her PR flacks might even have her light the blue touch paper for the publicity it would bring. It wouldn't do the Reg any harm either.

      John Edwards

      PS. The icon is Lindsay Lohan isn't it?

  6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  7. Stephen 2

    More interested

    In the fact that it travelled over 100km in such a short distance of time. If you could somehow direct it then it could be a good way of moving light loads (i.e urgent post) around.

    1. Paul RND*1000

      "If you could somehow direct it"

      That would put you one step ahead of a few posties I've suffered through. Yes, I would like my mail, no I do not want my neighbors' mail too.

  8. Yet Another Commentard

    Plastic man

    You'd think they'd have at least given him a hat. The Playmanaut had a full vacuum suit IIRC.

    A fine effort nonetheless.

  9. mark 63 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    I'm a dumbass

    How come on the little "most read" or whatever it is on the reg front page , theres a pic of said legonaut , but on the page with the actual story - no pics , as far as i can see.

    did it happen?

    p.s I think they should have gone for biggest ever lego skydive while they were there!

    1. CD001

      Psssst - it's a video, set NoScript to temporarily allow youtube ;)

  10. andy gibson

    Playmobil or Lego

    Has to be the latter, purely to send this into space:

    That's no weather balloon, it's a space station.

  11. Southern

    Let the space-race battle of playmobil vs lego begin. First one to the moon gets to set up a plastic moon base set of their choice.

  12. Eddy Ito

    Oh yeah, it's on.

    First Playmobile and now Lego. Who will be the first to send Barbie to become a member of the 16 mile high club?

  13. hugo tyson


    What's that UFO from 1:01 to 1:03 in the upper atmosphere?


    1. K. Adams

      Or at 0:36...

      You have to hit "pause" pretty quickly, though; it's on the screen for less than a second.

      1. BoldMan

        I think you'll find its that well known UFO called The Moon...

    2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Could be Uranus....

  14. Winkypop Silver badge

    Playmobile or it didn't happen


  15. bitmap animal

    Is that a UFO?

    In the video at 1:01 to 1:03 just above the Earth you can see a UFO monitoring this latest foray into space. It's stunning what our planet looks like from there, such a different view from just an airliner.

    ( I know, I know, it's probably just the moon )

  16. crowley

    WTF is that the background at 1:02, I wonder.

    Maybe there's enough data out there to correlate and figure it out, but I don't have the time :-(

  17. K. Adams

    4, 3, 2, 1...

    Earth below us...

    Drifting, falling...

    Floating weightless

    Calling, calling, "Home..."

  18. SpeakerToAliens

    What is the object seen in the sky from 1:01 to 1:03?

    Just wondering...

  19. simbo

    Suspicious space object??

    At 1minute into the video there is a object close the the blue horizon zone for about 4 this a space bound alien probe secretly monitoring our lego space exploits?

  20. Kynth


    Isn't the Lego man Danish born?

  21. Shades
    Thumb Up

    There is some hope...

    ...for the youth of today then after all!

  22. Marketing Hack Silver badge


    Now that the totemic space race is on, its time to pull out the big guns and put GI Joe into the troposphere. Or you could declare your nefarious designs to dominate mankind from on high and send up a Cobra Commander figurine.

    Is there a Richard Branson action figure out there, with super money-grabbing grip? :)

    1. Paul RND*1000

      Other options

      Action Man: Though his arms and legs would probably fall off before he reached maximum altitude. Possibly even before he left the ground.

      Evel Knievel action figure: no parachute required. Bonus points for sending him up on the matching stunt bike.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, you've all been beaten by Buzz Lightyear

    Buzz has been on the ISS:

    1. Paul RND*1000

      The red Angry Bird hitched a ride into space recently too.

  24. Big Al


    So given the moaning and wailing about "not enough kids doing science", why aren't assorted Ministries of Education encouraging more schools to run projects like this if the budget can be brought down so far?!

    Heck, taking a few tin cans around your local shops would probably get most of that together, and it could be a group effort for a class or after-hours school club. Plan, divide up workload, do the calculations, impress the governors/sponsors with the pics/vids afterwards... WIN!

  25. JaitcH

    Next the Terrorist crazy USA will be demanding their extradition ...

    Newmarket, Ontario, is about 20 kilometres north of Toronto so it would be in the realm of possibility that the USA will be demanding Canada hand over these would be terrorists if their device drifted across te border.

    Perhaps these guys have inadvertently discovered a chink in the American security fence that protects it from real or imagined terrorists. What a hoot, that should make the Pentagon start a whole new multi-billion dollar program to detect and eliminate meteorological balloons.

    Who knows, they might have to get new drones that can reach 90,000 feet so thay can shoot down balloon bombs from Canada.

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      Already been done

      The Japanese Imperialists had sent bombs tied to balloons to the US during WW2. Manged to kill an innocent family out on a Picnic (Not that Imperialist Japan gave two shits about killing innocents).

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Done before as said and by James May and co. on his show a few months back - delivering cremated pets into the upper atmosphere.

    On a side note, what are the legalities of letting such 'aircraft' go in terms of potential danger to aircraft for example on the way up and down?

  27. Lockwood

    I'm amazed you're allowed to launch stuff like this.

    Think of the children/wildlife/aviation/emissions/whatever.

    If this stuff is permissable, I might have to start doing some research...

  28. Stoneshop Silver badge

    Data for LOHAN

    You can see some scraps of the balloon having gone kablooie near the end of the video. It's just one datapoint, but from this one it appears that you don't have to take special precautions (like donut-shaped balloons, swinging arms or platforms on top) to allow the rocket to fire straight up at this point. The only thing you need to do is stabilise the launch platform along its vertical axis, and rig a trigger to detect loss of pull from the balloon cord.

    1. K. Adams


      But it would probably be worth having a look, in any case, by sending up a test balloon with a retrievable GPS unit hooked to an upwards-pointing camera, so we can see what actually happens from the perspective of the payload carrier...

  29. Kernel

    @ Next the Terrorist crazy USA will be demanding their extradition

    "Perhaps these guys have inadvertently discovered a chink in the American security fence that protects it from real or imagined terrorists. What a hoot, that should make the Pentagon start a whole new multi-billion dollar program to detect and eliminate meteorological balloons."

    Been done, I think you'll find, by the Japanese during WW2 - sending balloons to drop explosives on the US, that is.

    1. JaitcH

      Granted, but the US didn't have it's 100% security blanket

      These days the US claims it's got all bases covered ... mind you they thought that when Pearl Harbour happened by.

      The big difference is that Canada is adjacent to the States and the fleet of drones keeping an eye on those marijuana smoking, beer swilling Canadians only fly around 60,000 feet (if my memory serves me correctly).

      Canadians also have the jet stream going for them, if you want to fly a balloon over the States, already the Land of the Mounties supplies 50% of what's needed for tornadoes and US weather forecasters always blame 'the cold air from Canada' whenever it gets cold in Florida.

  30. marcfielding

    They seem to even have captured a shot of an alien spacecraft, 00:35 to the right of the lego man!

  31. Brian Allan

    Tried this once...

    A couple of my university buddies and I tried this once. It rose to the phenomenal height of about 100 feet before a gust of wind blew the whole experiment into the side of a building.

    The beer was good though...

    Congrats to my fellow Canucks!!

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