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A British woman has enjoyed the peculiar honour of knitting a jumper for Camilla the rubber chicken – the mascot of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Camilla the space chicken. Pic: NASARugby lass Sue Drage, 62, was recommended to the space agency by BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, after she took part in a charity "knitathon". Camilla (pictured), was due to soar heavenwards yesterday under a meteorological balloon to view the annular solar eclipse over the US, suitably protected from the chill by Britain's finest knitwear.

A proud Mrs Drage said of her knitting mission: "I feel quite honoured. It's the first suit that's gone from this country. Camilla has lots of outfits knitted for her by people in America, so they thought it was a good way of putting Britain on the map."

She added: "Before this I didn't even know it existed. I thought it was a live chicken the first time I heard about it. It took me three attempts – I'm not one for giving up – and I had to get a rubber chicken to check the sizes, but I managed to do it."

Camilla is a seasoned veteran of the upper atmosphere, who twice ventured aloft back in March as part of a California high school student project to measure solar radiation. The second mission, on 10 March, returned this spectacular shot of the helium-filled balloon bursting at around 120,000ft (36,576m):

Camilla seen the under the bursting meteorological balloon. Pic credit: Earth to Sky-Bishop CA

On that occasion, the fearless space chicken was wearing an outfit put together by Cynthia Coer Butcher from Blue Springs, Missouri. ®

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