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Earth Day: There Is No Planet B

Panorama of Earth captured from space

Since April 22nd, 1970, millions of people have been celebrating Earth Day across the world. Earth Day is a chance to focus on ways to help this pale blue dot we call home by striving to reduce deforestation, pollution, and littering.

Some people plant trees, while others focus on improving their recycling efforts, reducing their reliance on single-use plastics and switching to more environmentally friendly consumption habits, among many other ways to preserve and protect the environment.

Earth Day: Planet vs. Plastics

Plastic waste in plastic bags

This year's Earth Day theme is 'Planet vs. Plastics'. The campaign aims to increase awareness about the negative impacts of plastics as well as how to reduce plastic waste and consumption. One of the core initiatives this year is '60 X 40' which pursues the goal of reducing 60% of plastic consumption by 2040.

Our over-reliance on fossil fuels, single-use plastics, and deforestation all contribute to climate change and habitat loss, putting the precious ecosystem of our planet in real danger. Unless we make dramatic changes in the ways we collectively consume natural resources, the future isn’t necessarily looking too bright.

Here at Sent Into Space, we strive to do what we can to reduce our carbon footprint and product wastage. It is easy to presume that a cinematography-focused space agency that, as the name suggests, sends things into space, would be a rather environmentally damaging endeavour, but this is certainly not the case.

How are Sent Into Space environmentally friendly?

An oak sapling growing on the forest floor

The most common environmental query we receive from clients and the public concerns the makeup of the weather balloons used for each launch. Unlike party balloons, which can be harmful to animals and do not biodegrade, our balloons are made from undyed natural latex, which is non-toxic and decomposes at the same rate as an oak leaf.

At the flight’s peak, when the balloon bursts, small fragments (less than 5cm2 in area) occasionally separate from the main canopy and are unrecoverable. However, no inorganic traces are left behind, and the latex contains natural nutrients which actually add to the fertility of the soil where they land.

Renewable lifting gas

We opt for hydrogen over helium to inflate our balloons. Helium is non-renewable, resource-intensive to mine, and it is in high demand given its important medical applications. Hydrogen, however, is more cost-efficient and is a renewable resource whose manufacture produces minimal hazardous or toxic by-products.

Minimising our environmental impact

Other than the items mounted to the launch vehicle, and the biodegradable balloon, all other components of the launch vehicle are recovered from each flight and reused, greatly limiting resource wastage. Finally, our dedication to safety and unmatched success rate are reflected in how we are still the only company in the world with full public liability insurance for commercial high-altitude balloon flights.

Filling a weather balloon in the desert with mountian backdrop
One of our desert launches

Other practices we have implemented to limit environmental damage:

  • Where possible, Sent Into Space schedules and conducts multiple launches on the same day to minimise the impact of travel/transport.

  • All electronics on our spacecraft are powered using rechargeable power sources.

  • We manufacture components in-house using low-impact manufacturing solutions, including FDM 3D printing and CNC machining.

  • We design and manufacture equipment for long-lasting use and reuse.

  • Sent Into Space is committed to a digital-first documentation policy.

  • Weeks prior to a launch, we collect huge volumes of weather data from meteorological organisations so that we can safely retrieve the payload.

Contributing to environmental and space research

Bright orange triangle shaped inflatable antenna being tested in space with the Earth below

At Sent Into Space, we have a passion for space research and furthering scientific understanding. After all, the company was founded by two doctors of engineering, and our affiliated team consists of numerous professors and PhDs with a wide range of disciplines, from Nanoparticle manipulation to Astro-Biology.

One way we contribute to scientific research is through our stratosphere-bound weather balloons. Currently pushing the forefront of stratospheric understanding, our launches have helped make numerous contributions to research organisations and enterprises across the globe, and we have even aided a number of organisations in publishing fundamental research.

We operate in the following spaces: Low Earth Observation for agricultural monitoring, particulate sample capture for geology and microbiology, solar activity and aeronomics, climate monitoring and climate change research. Our team are therefore ready to help deliver a platform for high-altitude research, whether that is arrived at through testing the limits of equipment, collating stratospheric samples, or even how this layer of our atmosphere affects satellite components.

What’s this about space education?

happy school child holding teddy bear with weather balloon and school in background

We want to encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers to be interested in space, protecting the planet, and finding unique solutions to environmental issues.

Our Classtronauts programme is helping to do just that. Not only do we ignite pupils’ interest through conducting real-life space missions with them, but we also provide educational resources that cover topics spanning gravity, air resistance, as well as other kinds of wild and wonderful space phenomena. If any of this piques your interest, please contact us.

Happy Earth Day! 🌱


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