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IBM History

IBMImp1 Space Probe

Space ProbeEdge of Space Initiative

In June 2015, IBM and Imperial College launched a probe from Churchill College to the Edge of Space, some 20 miles above the Earth.

While above the Earth, the probe transmitted telemetry such as temperature, light readings, movement, and location data back to IBM. This data controlled, in real-time, the environment of the IBM Hursley Innovation Center, in order to represent the conditions the probe encountered in space. The probe used IBM Messaging and Bluemix technology as the software backbone, to transport and process the telemetry to control the conditions of the IBM Innovation Center. This Proof of Concept has implications for disaster recovery and immersive education technologies.

The mission was successful, but not without incident, as during its 20 mile descent back to Earth, the probe's parachute failed to deploy. This resulted in the probe hurtling at 20 metres per second from space, toward Cambridge. Thankfully, the parachute mechanism became caught in a tree some 3 metres above the ground. Consequently, despite falling 20 miles from space at terrific speed, the probe is still completely intact.


For more information see John McNamara's blog -

A collection of information -

A video of the launch -