KPU mascot soars to space and back for science

Tue, Apr 21, 2015

Lower Mainland, B.C. – This Thursday, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) will launch its mascot to the edge of space – all in the name of science.

The event is part of the Canada Wide Experiment, which involves launching over 10 helium-filled stratospheric balloons 30 kilometres into the air from sites across the country. Even when the bubble bursts, the fun continues as the aerial device travels back to earth with a treasure trove of scientific data, including carbon monoxide levels, barometric pressure and nitrogen dioxide figures.

KPU is the only post-secondary institution in B.C. participating, and is expected to retrieve data from the skies above the Lower Mainland. Depending on the weather, the balloon could travel as far as 150 kilometres in any direction from KPU Tech. In addition to scientific devices, on board the near-spacial flight will be Kwinten the Eagle, a video camera to capture the whole experiment and a GPS tracker so that the Canada Wide Experiment-KPU Eagle retrieval team can follow the project to its final landing spot.

“This is an exciting experiment for KPU to participate in and we’re having some fun with it! Using our mascot Kwinten the Eagle as our ‘pilot’ is a great way to appeal to the imaginations of kids and families, while collecting real scientific data. It’s all part of the bigger vision of Science Rendezvous and KPU to take science out of the lab and into our communities – inspiring the public to engage and embrace science in their everyday lives,” says Dr. Elizabeth Worobec, dean of KPU’s Faculty of Science.  

The launch will take place on April 23 at KPU Tech (5500 180th St. Surrey) at 10 a.m. The device (and Kwinten) can be tracked by anyone over the course of the morning via this link.

The Canada Wide Experiment was started by the University of Regina and Science Rendezvous as a national collaborative science and education program. Launch sites across the country will run the balloon experiment this week, and the data collected will be showcased at Science Rendezvous and used for learning purposes by participating universities.

On May 9, KPU will host its third annual Science Rendezvous and inaugural Education Expo at the university’s Langley campus. The event will feature raw footage from the balloon, as well as interactive science labs, high-tech nursing patient simulators and tours of the university’s brand new state-of-the-art instructional brewing lab.

Free and open to the public, more information about Science Rendezvous at KPU is available here.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at


Photos of Kwinten the pilot are available here.

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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