Paper Aircraft Released Into Space

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The PARIS (Paper Aircraft Released Into Space) project was a privately organised endeavour undertaken by various staff members of the information technology web site The Register to design, build, test, and launch a lightweight aerospace vehicle, constructed mostly of paper and similar structural materials, into the mid-stratosphere and recover it intact.

On 28 October 2010, the aircraft was successfully launched at 90,000 ft (27,000 m) - 17 miles up - setting a world record recognised by Guinness World Records[1] at a location about 120 miles west of Madrid, Spain, a team of British space enthusiasts. On 13 September 2014, a group of cadets from Fox Valley Composite Squadron of the Illinois Wing, Civil Air Patrol announced it has broken El Reg's Guinness World Record for the highest launch of a paper plane by releasing a substantial paper dart at 96,563ft (29,430m).[2][3]


Staffers at The Register, inspired by the CU Spaceflight Nova 1 project, formally announced their intention to initiate a project of their own on 30 July 2009.[4] The aircraft's name was selected by polling The Register's readership, and was subsequently dubbed Vulture 1 (in reference to The Register's own nickname "Vulture Central").[5]

The use of the word "space" in the project's name refers to "near space," not "outer space," since it was not planned for the vehicle to ascend to an altitude above the Kármán line (the "boundary" of outer space, defined by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale as 100 km (62 mi) above the Earth's surface[6]); it is nevertheless a project that is closely related to the concept of private spaceflight.

Lester Haines, Special Projects Editor (Iberian Bureau) at The Register, as part of his reporting on CU Spaceflight's Nova 1 mission[7] in 2006,[8] and at the behest of Nova team member Carl Morland, mused that "El Reg might like to contribute something" as a payload to a future high-altitude balloon project, and invited the online magazine's readership to make suggestions as to what kind of payload package should be designed and built.[9] After languishing for a few years in limbo, the balloon payload project was resurrected in July, 2009 as PARIS, an acronym for Paper Aircraft Released Into Space, the payload type having been decided sometime earlier.[when?]

The paper plane was successfully launched on October 28, 2010.[10]


The Register is now working on PARIS' successor, named LOHAN (short for "Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator", a balloon-launched rocket-powered aircraft.[11]


  1. ^ Highest Altitude Paper Plane Launch
  2. ^ CAP Breaks Guinness World Record for Highest Paper Airplane Flight
  3. ^ US team claims PARIS paper plane launch crown
  4. ^ "El Reg to launch space paper plane". The Register. July 30, 2009. Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  5. ^ "El Reg space paper plane christened Vulture 1". The Register. August 10, 2009. Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  6. ^ "FAI Sporting Code: General Sections 2010 (PDF)" (PDF). Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Effective January 1, 2010. p. Glossary 3 (PDF page 52/53). Retrieved July 16, 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ "CU Spaceflight: Nova 1 launch report". Cambridge University Spaceflight. September 2006. Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  8. ^ "UK uni rocket payload test hits 105,600ft". The Register. September 18, 2006. Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  9. ^ "El Reg to launch space payload". The Register. August 10, 2009. Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Paper plane launched into space captures Earth images". BBC News. November 11, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  11. ^ "El Reg to unleash rocket-powered spaceplane". The Register. July 7, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2011.