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Paper Aeroplane Sent To Space To Break Record For Highest-Ever Flight

24/09/2014 11:11 BST | Updated 24/09/2014 11:59 BST

Paper aeroplanes are one of those things that should be fun, light and innocent, but are also subject to incredibly intense competition by various people trying to break world records.

And this one might just be the most ridiculous of all.

A group of US air cadets have sent a paper plane to the edge of space, released it and recovered it.

The US Fox Valley Composite Squadron, Illinois Wing, Civil Air Patrol said that their paper plane was launched from a height of 96,563 feet, and landed 82 miles from its launch point about two hours after release.

The experiment has set what the team thinks is a new record for "Highest Paper Airplane Flight from High Altitude Balloon".

The plane is made of paper board, is about 30 inches long and weighs less than half a kilo. The plane had a range of tech on board, including a GPS unit, temperature sensors and a flight computer.

It was attached to a large helium balloon, and released at the highest point automatically when the balloon popped due to the expansion of the gas inside. Once it had burst the plane began to glide naturally back down to Earth, descending across large swathes of Indiana.

The record - if verified by Guinness - will break that of the UK-based PARIS team who set their mark in 2010.

But just in case you think this is all a bit frivolous, there is a genuine education element here: the experiment was carried out to engage 12-18 year olds in Science, Tech, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects, and they designed and built every part of the project.