Merriwa sinks teeth into slice of history as meat pie launched to highest-ever altitude

THE Upper Hunter town of Merriwa could make history this weekend as the location for a world record attempt to launch a meat pie to the highest-ever altitude.

The University of NSW is staging the endeavour as part of its four-day NewSpace FlashBuild event being held from November 7 to 11 to promote the state’s space industry.

NSW Space Advocate Paul Scully-Power said the event was being hosted by UNSW’s TechConnect program, which is supported by the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Program.

“NSW is home to more than 40 per cent of Australia’s space businesses and the industry is growing strongly,” he explained.

“So, it’s great to see events like this bring the industry together to promote its future potential.

“The Boosting Business Innovation Program is about connecting our universities with businesses to share knowledge and promote innovation.”

UNSW TechConnect entrepreneur in residence Alex Herlihy said the NewSpace FlashBuild event brought together experienced teams, engineers, academics, startups, tech platforms and students.

“There are a range of events being held to prototype and deploy solutions to space-related challenges,” he added.

“The Pie in the Sky - on Saturday from 8.30am to 12.30pm at Merriwa Sports Club - will see two high-altitude helium balloons launched.

“This will be a fun event but with a serious purpose.

“A Garlo’s meat pie will be on board to smash the current world record for the ‘highest pie in the sky’, which was set at 46.8 kilometres in the United Kingdom in 2016.

“But, also onboard will be small cubesat satellites, video and communications equipment for high altitude tests and to document the launch.

“This is the first step in what we hope will lead to a future satellite launch in NSW.

“The Pie in the Sky flight is also being supported by the UNSW student space club BlueSAT, space startup SpaceOps, satellite company Picosat Systems, inventor Mic Black and other more established space companies from the Delta-V Space Alliance.”

Garlo Pies sales manager Jackson Garlick was fully-supportive of the project.

“Meat pies are a quintessential Aussie staple and if we are successful in busting the record for the highest pie in the sky it will not only be bragging rights for us but also an accomplishment for Australia,” he said.