Local News

Andover: A space odyssey

Rocket Take Off

The mission: to send a spacecraft to space, from Andover.

Chapel Arts Studios (CAS) have launched an impressive and high flying art project which involves sending a spacecraft to space. Well, as far up as it will go.

The Andover Space Project is the idea of artist-in-residence Tom Mansfield and will use a weather balloon to launch the project into the skies in early December.

CAS are transforming their headquarters in the grounds of St Mary’s Church into Mission Control and everybody is being invited to participate in this stellar art project.

Working with Andover Young Carers and the Picket Twenty Fillies WI group, organisers are asking Andover residents to name the spacecraft which will carry a camera 20km into the sky on December 1st. In context, a Boeing 747 flies up to 10km high.

With an anticipation that the craft will return to earth around 30km east of Andover, the craft and camera teams of people will then be dispatched to locate and recover the craft so that the camera footage can be reviewed.

Maija Liepins from CAS says, “The craft which is being designed by Andover Young Carers and the Picket Twenty Fillies needs a name. We are inviting the people of Andover to get in contact and join us on November 23rd at Mission Control for an official naming ceremony.”

“There will be lots going around the town on this day and we are inviting absolutely everyone to come and get involved in this big-thinking project”.

Artistic Director Tom Mansfield added, “We are awaiting clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on the location of the launch, once agreed we hope to send our module into the skies on Sunday December 1st. If the weather is too poor we have a reserve date of the following Sunday.

The team at CAS are hoping for clearance from the CAA for the launchpad to be erected in Andover High Street.

Tom adds, “We will be able to track the craft with GPS and will attempt to recover all footage from the flight.”

Mission progress and the final countdown will be heard on 95.9FM Andover Radio. The local radio station is also seeking people to participate in creating a ‘soundscape’ – a series of space themed sound effects, music, prose and poetry which will form part of the project.

Andover Radio’s poet laureate Dan Hooks will be arranging for specially written poems by Andoverians to be part of the project.

The idea is as a result of the recent coverage given to the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landings, space fan Tom Mansfield adds, “We hope the Andover Space Project craft will reach 20km above the planet before pressure will deflate the weather balloon, sending the craft and camera back to earth.”

Find our more about the project by clicking here, or following the hashtag #CASAIRspace on social media.

About the author

David Harber

David Harber is the founder and Managing Director of Love Andover, including the Love Andover Observer newspaper and 95.9FM Andover Radio. He is a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts and a card carrying member of the Nation Union of Journalists.