My ‘Beat Felix!’ mission diary – April

4th April – Horizon Mural

BF 4Apr Mural

It’s a very proud day for Horizon as the school have put up a mural to commemorate the first flight. It is huge and looks incredible in the corridor between mathematics (the department that run the Horizon project) and science. Hopefully it’ll inspire more pupils to sign up for the project or come up with their own projects.



8th April – Radio tuning

BF 8 Apr Radio

This afternoon everyone on the team had radio training. We had to put the radio together out of the box, tune it so that it picked up the signal from the Flight Computer (a funny warbly noise that the team called RTTY) and connect the radio to the computer. Everyone was paired up and each pair took turns until they could do it without thinking as any of them may be called upon to do the tracking on a launch day. Even I had a go but I needed a little help plugging everything in.

The team are starting to get really excited about the upcoming launch (so am I!) and they had a good chance to talk about it while they waited their turn.

28th April – Balloon and Parachute arrive


Exciting times! The balloon and parachute for Gagarin’s launch arrived today. The balloon package seems much bigger than last year but thanks to the much smaller probe (Gagarin weighs ~500g compared to the 1.6kg of Horizon 2) the parachute is much smaller, we nearly missed it when we unpacked the box. Just five days left until launch!

29th April – Beat Felix Team Meeting

BF 29Apr Gagarin

This afternoon’s team meeting was a walkthrough of Saturday’s launch (I’m so excited!). The teacher in charge talked everyone through the events of the launch and what would need to be done from arrival to leaving. There is a lot that goes into a launch so it took a while and they had to get quite creative with props as some equipment hasn’t arrived yet. One of the parts of the meeting was when the team voted on names for their three probes. The chosen names (launched in this order) are:

  • Gagarin – In memory of Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space.
  • Armstrong – Named after Neil Alden Armstrong, an American astronaut and the first person to walk on the Moon.
  • Hadfield – Named after Chris Austin Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut who gained popularity by chronicling life aboard the International Space Station and taking pictures of the earth – posting them on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to a large following of people around the world. He was a guest on television news and talk shows and gained popularity by playing his guitar in space.

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