Pupils from Letchworth’s Pixmore Junior School help send robot inspired by Tim Peake flying 33km towards space

The kids get the balloon ready for launch.

The kids get the balloon ready for launch. - Credit: Archant

Aerospace engineers of the future from Letchworth’s Pixmore Junior School helped to send a robot flying 33km towards space – and now await his return to Pixmore for analysis.

Peaky the robot.

Peaky the robot. - Credit: Archant

Pixmore pupil Amelie Cruise won a national competition to programme phrases for Peaky, named after astronaut Tim Peake, to say during his trip by helium balloon as he collected flight data and video footage.

Pixmore also won the chance to launch Peaky – but Letchworth’s proximity to Luton Airport meant the take-off had to be held in Royston at Roysia Middle School.

Some 57 pupils from Pixmore’s Year 5 were among the 800 children at the launch, and they’re now looking forward to Peaky’s return.

Peaky’s competition-winning phrases were said at take-off, when his balloon popped and on landing.

Tim Peake in Stevenage.

Tim Peake in Stevenage. - Credit: Archant


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The first was: “Hang on, launch? I thought you said lunch!”

The second was: “I hope that popping thing isn’t contagious.”

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And on landing, Peaky said: “Next time, I want to fly first class!”

Peaky is an Ohbot – a robot head designed to be built and programmed by children. He rose to 32,843m before his helium balloon burst over The Wash, sending him plummeting back to Earth – and he only missed a sea landing by a whisker.

Teacher Charlotte Pocock told the Comet: “The highlight of the day was finding out that the balloon had popped while over The Wash, and that Peaky might land in the ocean.

“The children were very relieved that find out that he didn’t – although it was a very close shave – and that we’ll be able to watch the video footage and analyse the data from the on-board tracker once he makes it back to Pixmore.”

Peaky landed near the shore of The Wash, close to Boston, in Lincolnshire.

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