A team of high-flying Brits were on cloud nine today after becoming the first in the world to send a paper aeroplane into space and capture these stunning images as it flew back to earth.
The amateur space enthusiasts attached the aeroplane and camera to a helium weather balloon and released it into the atmosphere.
It soared a staggering 23 MILES above the earth before the balloon exploded and sent the paper plane gliding back to earth taking dozens of photographs as it descended.
Steve Daniels, Lester Haines and John Oates designed the plane – which has a 3ft wing span – and is made of paper straws covered in paper.
Operation PARIS – Paper Aircraft Released Into Space – was launched on October 28 in Spain.
The team launched the balloon from a remote spot around 50 miles west of Madrid after gaining permission from the Spanish authorities.
It took an hour-and-a-half to climb to 90,000ft before the expanding helium burst the balloon and the plane was released.
The team tracked the plane using a GPS navigation system as it took another 90 minutes to glide back to earth and landed in woodland 100 miles from the release point.
IT consultant Steve Daniels, of Paignton, Devon, revealed the team embarked on the project ”for a laugh” but ended up spending around £8,000 to make it a success.
Married father-of-two Steve, 42, said: ”Somebody launched a bit of cheese out of a balloon, which we thought was bit stupid.
”We thought we could do something more technical than that. We decided to launch a paper plane because nobody has done that before.
”I was excellent fun. If anybody wanted me to do it again I am more than up for it. It seems really silly but it was brilliant fun.
”Nobody had ever done it before, so we were worried about what could go wrong. It was a little bit stressful.”
The three enthusiasts got together after discussing the project on IT website ‘The Register’ and were sponsored by Peer One Networking.
John Oates, 39, from London, said: ”We wanted a daft project but we were amazed by how successful it was. We are absolutely delighted.
”I never thought we would find the plane at all. It could have ended up anywhere and I thought it would be smashed to pieces.
”To find it intact in such a wild area was amazing. There was a small hole in the wing, but otherwise it was fine.”