Powys family stunned to find 'UFO' lost space balloon that landed in their garden

  • Charlotte Buckley describes what it has been like since the discovery

A family from Powys have been left stunned after discovering what they thought was a UFO in their back garden.

Charlotte and Allen Buckley woke to see the seven feet long object bouncing across their garden.

When they looked closely, they saw it was a white box attached to a balloon with cameras fitted.

The balloons are a pet project of some of the staff and they launch roughly one balloon per year as a team building activity. Credit: Solenix
Martin Tykal from Sokenix said small bottles of Whisky are put in the white box because it "tastes different". Credit: Solenix

The couple checked the marking to discover it was made by space company Solenix 560 miles away - and was lost in their garden in the countryside.

It travelled from Darmstadt in Germany to the market town of Llanfair Caereinion in Powys.

  • "It’s absolutely huge"

Mrs Buckley told ITV News: “It’s just so strange. At the time before we had a look, I joked with my husband that it’s a UFO because it’s an unidentified flying object.

“It’s probably six or seven feet long – it’s absolutely huge.

This picture is just one of many the space balloon normally takes. Credit: Solenix

Mrs Buckley said there was a German phone number on the balloon.

“It had a name across the top of it, it had a go pro on top a camera on the side a camera on the bottom and it had solar panels either side."

It belonged to Solenix which is an international company providing software engineering and consulting services in the space market.

Martin Tykal, Head of Engineering at Sokenix said: “We were excited and enthralled. We believed our payload landed in some forest 30 miles away.

Mrs Buckley said it was a bit odd having it land in her field when she had guests staying.

“As we did not hear back from our GPS tracker, we considered the mission lost and had little hope someone could find it and would call us.

"When we got the call and learned that Charlotte is calling us from 560 miles away, that was almost unbelievable.”

The balloons are a pet project of some of the staff and they launch roughly one balloon per year as a team building activity.

They travel up to 23 miles into the atmosphere which is up to three times as high as the average commercial flight.

Martin said: “Mainly we take pictures and videos during the flight, as the perspective from this altitude is absolutely stunning.

Martin explained that for space enthusiasts "it is the easiest and cheapest way to come close to space".

“We measure temperature and density, as it is a different environment of what we have down there.

“We typically have small bottles of Whisky in the box that we sample after a successful return – stratosphere Whisky just tastes different.

“For space enthusiasts like us it is the easiest and cheapest way to come close to space.

“Typically the balloon rises quickly into the Stratosphere, where the ambient pressure is very low. This causes the balloon to expand until it pops.

“The styrofoam box with our cameras, on-board computer and sensors then glides back to Earth with a parachute.

“During the launch we had a little accident and a rope we used to slowly launch the balloon got entangled and started with the balloon. This increased the total weight.

"We believe that due to this the balloon rose very high, but not quite high enough to pop. As such it drifted with the winds in the stratosphere all the way from Darmstadt in Germany to Wales.”

A Solenix employee is set to pick up the balloon later this year when they holiday in Wales.

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