On Wednesday November 22, 2017, leading Microsoft talent partner Curo Talent soared to new heights by launching a Surface Book 2 into space. Taking off from a specially selected site near Swindon under particularly difficult weather conditions, the Surface Book 2 travelled over 21 miles into the stratosphere before hurtling back down to earth.
Despite wind speeds reaching nearly 22 miles per hour, the Curo Talent team worked alongside near space experts Sent Into Space to launch the Surface Book 2, just days after its official release from Microsoft.
Attached to a parachute for a safe descent, the Surface Book 2 landed approximately two and half hours later near Ely in Cambridgeshire, almost 100 miles away from its launch site.
“We weren’t sure whether the Surface Book 2 would survive its journey,” said Mark Sewell, chief information officer (CIO) at Curo Talent. “However, we were pleased to hear from the landing team that the Surface Book 2 not only survived its mission, but is in perfect working condition.”
The Surface Book 2 was attached to a hydrogen inflated latex balloon that travelled up beyond the Armstrong limit, which is the altitude above which no human can survive without a pressurised environment. While transporting the Surface Book 2 to new limits, the launch is designed to capture interesting scientific data.
“Through the journey we can not only track the exact location of the balloon at all times, but also find out useful information about its journey,” Dan Blaney, business operations manager at Sent Into Space, said. “For this mission, we know that the Surface Book 2 survived temperatures of near minus 60 degrees centigrade, air pressure of less than one per cent of sea level air and speeds of over 210 miles per hour on descent. The fact that the device survived and still works is very impressive.”
The launch was witnessed by a group of twelve school children from a local primary school, who learned about the science and technology behind the project. Alongside the Surface Book 2, a series of postcards addressed to inspiring scientists or those with influence across the science and technology sectors were launched.
The postcards will be sent to their intended recipients with a letter of authenticity, urging increased funding and support for the next generation of science, technology and space experts.
“Space is truly inspiring,” Sewell continued. “Seeing the children get excited about the project and having them ask well thought out questions shows that the next generation will be inspired to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) subjects with the right support.”
The entire journey was filmed by an on-board camera and is available to watch on the Curo Talent website and YouTube channel. The Surface Book 2, which survived its journey into the stratosphere will be given as a gift to Microsoft executives.