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Potato in SPAAAAACE: LOHAN chap cooks up stratospud with Heston Blumenthal

Dave Akerman hobnobs with 'Pie in the Sky' TV chef

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Pics Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team member Dave Akerman confirmed his status as one of the UK's go-to guys* for high-altitude ballooning (HAB) launches when he popped up on Channel 4 last week in Heston Blumenthal's Great British Food series.

Dave Akerman and Heston Blumenthal

The celebrity food-botherer wanted to send a potato aloft to confirm - as NASA has apparently proved - that exposure to low pressure and temperature will break down the spud's cell walls, offering the delicious prospect of super-creamy space mash.

The experiment, part of an episode in which Blumenthal "salutes the great British pie as he looks to find inspiration for a three-course pie banquet", took place in October last year. Here's the preflight potato in its custom-built transportation vehicle:

The plastic rocket containing the space spud

As tradition dictates, the mission was preluded by the consumption of bacon nourishment provided by Dave's missus Julie, seen here as the filling in a Dave-Heston sandwich:

Dave and Julie Akerman, with Heston Blumenthal

According to Dave, the launch went smoothly...

Dave filling the balloon as Heston looks on

...with Blumenthal doing the honours:

Two stills of Blumenthal launching the payload

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