Haggis in space: how did Scottish butcher Simon Howie launch haggis into space for Burns Night - and why?

Haggis isn’t the only object to make the journey into space – a pizza, harmonica, and Star Wars lightsaber have all made the trip

Scottish butcher Simon Howie has taken Burns Night to new heights by launching a packet of haggis into space.

The popular Scottish delicacy, accustomed to flying off the shelves, was sent soaring 20 miles above Earth - the equivalent to nearly four times the height of Everest – in celebration of the life and works of poet Robert Burns.

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Mr Howie said he wanted to start the year by "lifting the spirits of the general public" and hoped it brought some much-needed cheer to everyone during the Covid-19 lockdown, as the country prepares to fine dine over haggis on 25 January.

In celebration of Burns night, butcher Simon Howie became the first person to send haggis into space. Here's a look at how and what other objects humans have sent beyond the Earth's atmosphere. (Pic: PA)

"Burns Night is one of the most important dates on the food calendar for us and we wanted to mark the occasion by sending the UK's best-selling haggis, the original 454g, to the edge of space," he said.

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How did they launch haggis into space?

Mr Howie worked alongside space education and research firm Stratonauts to send the packet of haggis up, up and away from his butchers headquarters in Dunning, Perth and Kinross.

Attached to a weather balloon, the haggis travelled over Stirling, Falkirk, Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills before reaching such great heights and falling safely back down to Earth.

And, after two hours, 37 minutes in the air - and having covered a distance of 52 miles, the savoury pudding landed in Lauder in the Borders to become the first haggis in space.

Stratonauts director Lewis Campbell said: "Launching from Dunning was challenging due to the winds as we needed to ensure a safe retrieval of the footage and of course the 'space haggis' itself.

"Having monitored the weather for weeks, a window of opportunity finally presented itself - and what a window it turned out to be. Perfect conditions."

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Where is the space haggis now?

Following its safe landing, the haggis has been collected and returned to where it was made at Howie headquarters where it will be preserved as “the first haggis in space”.

"After reaching over 107,000ft with views of at least 250 miles, the haggis then fell to Earth at nearly 200mph before the parachute took over - meaning it is also probably the fastest haggis in the world too," added Mr Campbell.

While Mr Howie and Stratonauts hope the unusual launch inspires young people to get into science, technology, engineering and math related subjects and careers.

The two companies plan to run science workshops with local schools once Covid restrictions have been eased.

What other things have humans sent into space?

Humankind's exploration into space goes beyond rockets, satellites, planets or solar systems.

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For as long as humankind has been fascinated by the stars, it has had an urge to send things up there.

It wasn't long before music followed humans into space with astronauts onboard the Gemini 6A spacecraft bursting into a rendition of Jingle Bells, accompanied by a tiny four hole harmonica.

In 2001, astronauts aboard the International Space Station were the recipients of a Pizza Hut delivery. The pizza was reportedly worth $1 million at the time and its ingredients modified to withstand space travel.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of George Lucas's Star Wars franchise, Luke Sywalker's lightsaber from the film Return of the Jedi flew into space with the Harmony crew in 2007.

Other strange things to be sent into space include Lego figurines, a custom-made golf club and the ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.