A HIGH altitude balloon released by a Worcester pupil has ranked second in the UK for reaching the highest altitude.

Adam Cudworth, aged 18, who has just finished his A Levels at RGS Grammar School, Worcester, launched the balloon on Saturday afternoon from a field near his home in Uphampton, near Ombersley.

The balloon reached an impressive height of 3,5824m (117533ft), which was 382m below the UK record of 3,6206m, recorded by the UK High Altitude Society.

The latex balloon, which measured about one metre in diameter when inflated with helium, is similar to those used by the Met Office to measure the weather.

Attached to the balloon was a parachute and an insulated box carrying a camera, gps, radio and microprocessor to track the balloon’s progress.

Unfortunately, during the balloon’s flight the camera did not work, but Adam said everything else went to plan.

He said: “We had a brilliant flight. Unfortunately, the camera just looks to have shut down which is a real nightmare but everything else worked really well.

“It’s great that the temperature sensors all worked and I’ve got some very nice graphs of the altitude increase by time.

“But I hope to do another flight in a few weeks.”

After its launch the balloon headed towards Stratford-upon-Avon before coming back and landing in a field in Great Witley at about 7pm on Saturday, five hours after it was launched.

Adam, who is currently waiting for his results in physics, maths, further maths and economics, was inspired to launch the balloon two years ago after seeing a similar project online and studying space in physics.

He said the success of the project has now inspired him to carry out more experiments.

He said: “I hope to expand on the project now I have created a reliable tracking system.

“I’m looking at possibilities such as an autonomous glider to bring the payload safely back to a pre-determined location and also the possibility of a rockoon, which is a rocket launch from a high altitude balloon intended for aiming to get higher.”