Upper Hunter highest 'Pie in the Southern Sky'

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The Upper Hunter town of Merriwa made history on the weekend setting a Southern Hemisphere record by launch a meat pie to the highest ever altitude.

The University of NSW staged the flight with helium balloons and a Garlo’s pie on board as part of a four day 'NewSpace FlashBuild' event held from 7-11 November to promote the state’s space industry. The balloon reached 28.3 kilometres before bursting and returning to earth.

NSW Space Advocate Paul Scully-Power said the event was held by UNSW’s TechConnect program which is supported by the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Program.

'NSW is home to over 40% of Australia’s space businesses and the industry is growing strongly so it’s great to see events like this bring the industry together to promote its future potential,' Mr Scully-Power said.

'The Boosting Business Innovation Program is about connecting our universities with businesses to share knowledge and promote innovation.'

UNSW TechConnect entrepreneur in residence Alex Herlihy said the NewSpace FlashBuild event brought together experienced teams, engineers, academics, startups, tech platforms and students.

'There were a range of events held to prototype and deploy solutions to space-related challenges,' Mr Herlihy said.

'The Pie in the Sky event on Saturday at Merriwa Sports Club saw two high-altitude helium balloons launched.

'This was a fun event but with a serious purpose. A Garlo’s meat pie was on board as well as small cubesat satellites, video and communications equipment for high altitude tests and to document the launch.

'This is the first step in what we hope will lead to a future satellite launch in NSW.

'The Pie in the Sky flight is also being supported by the UNSW student space club BlueSAT, space startup SpaceOps, satellite company Picosat Systems, inventor Mic Black and other more established space companies from the Delta-V Space Alliance.'

Garlo Pies sales manager Jackson Garlick said: 'Meat pies are a quintessential Aussie staple and setting the highest pie in the southern sky is not only be bragging rights for us but also an accomplishment for Australia.'