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First Tent In Space

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In May 2012, while the world's eyes were on the Space X Dragon launch, another piece of history was made - the first tent in space.

In the Scottish Highlands four intrepid doll-sized space explorers - dubbed Vangonauts - attempted their first mission and managed to pitch a tent at 104,000ft (over three and a half times the height of Mt Everest).

The mission was carried out by tongue-in-cheek space organisation VASA (Vango Association of Space Accommodation) on behalf of Scottish tent company Vango AirBeam.

Mission control was in the Scottish Highlands near Oban, with the tent launched in light winds on a weather balloon. It initially headed South East, before catching the jetstream and heading North East.

One it reached an altitude peak of 31.5 kilometres the balloon burst sending the tent and crew back to earth.

The tent was tracked by GPS by the ground crew who were then able to plan a rendezvous with the campers post trip. The mission landed in wilderness near Loch Tay resulting in a 10km hike through snow, hail and bogs for the ground crew to rendezvous with the intrepid campers.

The team used an inflatable Vango AirBeam Flux tents which needed to withstand the trip into the stratosphere, with temperature fluctuations that can drop to -60°, wind speeds of up to 120mph and "have a nice viewing window through which the crew could enjoy the spectacular views of the Earth's curvature while eating their sandwiches".

"We chose space. Not because it was easy. But because we pioneered inflatable tents," said Gary Craig, VASA Project Director.

CREDIT: Vango AirBeam/Rex

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