FamilyLife Local News

SPACE PROGRAMME: Cleared for take-off

Rocket Take Off

Mission to launch a spacecraft into the stratosphere from Andover is given clearance.

This Saturday (November 23rd 2019), Chapel Arts Studios (CAS) with help from Andover Young Carers, the P20 Fillies and 95.9FM Andover Radio will be hosting a series of events across the town on a ‘Space Craft Naming Day’.

The creative team at CAS have got confirmation from the Civil Aviation Authority and Test Valley Borough Council to launch a spacecraft up to 30km into the sky, but they continue to involvement from more people in Andover.

The ‘Space Craft Naming Day’ is a community event for all ages to celebrate the naming of the craft (expected to be announced around 3:00pm on Saturday) and the activities around the high street and at St Mary’s Church are free to join in – and your words, thoughts and pictures could easily form part of this audacious art project.

From 10AM – Chapel Arts Studios – there will be imaginative activities. From poetry, constructions, writing and a space soundscape workshop from Andover Radio, there are lots of ways to get your work sent into space.

From 11AM – Andover Library – a special mbile planetarium will be built and it’s the go-to place to find out more about CAS’s plans for launch day on Sunday 1st December.

Andover Radio’s Craig Hicks says, “We love getting involved in big thinking things around our town.

“And, this is pretty stellar. Dan Hooks is collating a load of space-related poems and Ben Tuffin is arranging a chase vehicle to track the spacecraft across the skies.

“Anyone from Andover is invited to create a space-themed soundscape, get their poetry or photos sent into space and design the mission’s logo”.

Weather permitting, the high altitude balloon will be launched from just outside the Guildhall on December 1st and will contain images, movies, poems and prose as well as thoughts and comments collected on Saturday.

To suggest a name for the craft, please email: and to keep track of what’s happening with the project, follow #casAIRspace on social media.

Andover Radio will be arranging a ‘chase vehicle’ to follow the spacecraft across the skies, ready for when it returns to earth on Sunday December 1st. Again, if you want to participate, please email

David Harber and Tom Mansfield Andover Space Project plotting for the Andover Space Programme
PLOTTING: Andover Space Programme

Whereas we anticipate that the craft will return to earth in Surrey somewhere (certainly north and east of Andover), Tom Mansfield from CAS and David Harber from Andover Radio today calculated that it would land in the English Channel, just a few miles off the coast at Calais.

You can hear project lead Tom Mansfield explaining the whole project on The Word with Ben Morris, Monday night from 8pm on 95.9FM Andover Radio.

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.