It's a second giant leap for bear-kind.

One Auckland primary is again set to send a teddy bear into space — and this time they aim to break two world records in the process.

Last year, children at North Shore's Forest Hill Primary School succeeded in shooting the bear 28km above the earth until the weather balloon it was attached to burst.

After a three-hour journey, their fluffy would-be astronaut, dubbed SpaceTeddy, safely touched down on Rangitoto Island.


At some point in the next two weeks, they plan to better the feat, launching a balloon five times larger to a height of 40km above ground — 5km higher than the current world record for a balloon.

When it eventually explodes, the balloon would likely have stretched to a diameter of 20m, said Marius van Rijnsoever, who is helping organise the launch.

The second record would, of course, be dropping a teddy bear from that point in the atmosphere.

"It's going to take him about two hours to get up there — and then obviously coming down is going to be a bit quicker," said van Rijnsoever, whose daughter Amalia is a pupil at the school.

SpaceTeddy will be equipped with a special parachute for the descent, which would begin at speeds of around 120km/h, before slowing to 10km/h at the time of landing.

A mobile chase crew of school pupils — complete with computers and GPS trackers — would be waiting on the ground.

"We are just waiting for a clear day with a good wind direction that means teddy won't drown off the coast somewhere."

He pointed out the launch wouldn't just be a fun stunt, but a great opportunity to teach the kids about space and the ozone layer.


Every class had designed a paper airplane which would be released by the year 6 computer club "TeddyNauts" from their control centre once it was higher than 35km.

"The year 6 kids have also designed a science project to measure the ozone layer and have programmed a 'raspberry pi' computer to send data back from space to see how the ozone layer is recovering."