Our town’s most famous soft toy is returning home to a hero’s welcome – space mission accomplished.
Sam the Dog’s second attempt at blasting off into space was a success as this time he parachuted back down to earth.
The mascot of the Midland Hotel became a global internet sensation last year when he disappeared during his first mission – a balloon flight more than 25km above the Earth.
The lost Sam was never found, but being a cuddly toy, thankfully there is more than one of him!
So the doggie once again helped Morecambe Bay Primary School pupils with a science project – this time strapped into the 8m high Skybolt 2 research rocket.
Siobhan Collingwood, Morecambe Bay head teacher, another member of staff and seven children left school at 7am on Monday morning to travel to a testing site at Otterburn, Northumberland, to watch the flight.
Other staff and pupils watched live on Skype from the school hall as Sam was placed inside the rocket.
“He was blasted off into space, travelled for about four miles, the fuel tank came off and he parachuted back down to earth,” said Cassie Jones, deputy head.
“He’s now on his way back to the Midland hotel for afternoon tea!”
The purpose of the flight, sponsored by the University of Chester, was to test onboard electronics and demonstrate a parachute recovery system to be used aboard Manchester-based Starchaser Industries’ future people-carrying rocket.
Sam went missing in April 2016 after he was sent into orbit via helium balloon from the Midland hotel roof.
In the aftermath, the hashtag #FindSam was shared all over Twitter, a Facebook page was set up hoping to locate the furry traveller and YouTube videos of Sam’s mission were watched more than 370,000 times.
He even appeared on international news programmes in several other countries.