Teddy bear launched into stratosphere by young space enthusiasts

Kiwi space pioneers Rocket Lab scrubbed Monday's planned rocket launch, but an Auckland primary school carried out one of its own. 

For the second time, fuzzy would-be astronaut "Space Teddy" has been sent up into the sky by Forrest Hill School. A group of Year 6 students, known as the "teddynauts", spent the past two months preparing for the launch.

They used a massive weather balloon to transport their resident astronaut, who is already an intrepid traveller. Space Teddy has visited Mt Everest base camp and Monday's launch wasn't the first time he's been sent into the stratosphere.

Forrest Hill School Principal John Marwick says the bear reached a height of 28km on his last voyage.

"We've got a much bigger balloon. We want him to go up to 40km."

By getting Space Teddy to those heights, Forrest Hill would beat a world record.

The balloon and its small passenger were launched on Monday, with the wind so strong that there was no time for a countdown before Space Teddy was whisked into the air.

The students tracked his one-and-a-half-hour journey, using GPS technology to follow the astronaut's location.

Sadly, the balloon popped at just 20km high and Space Teddy landed on Waiheke Island. The teddynauts are hopeful he'll be easier to find than last year, when it took a five-hour hike to retrieve him from "the middle of nowhere" on Rangitoto.

While no world records were broken this time, it was still one giant leap for bearkind.