Video - NatWest T20 Blast Off - Going Where No Ball Has Ever Been Before...
Watch part of the launch of the NatWest T20 Blast this evening (16th May), as the England & Wales Cricket Board send a cricket ball into space and return it safely to earth.
For the first time, a cricket ball was sent to the edge of space, reaching a peak altitude of 11,000 feet - that's three times higher than the cruising height of commercial aeroplanes.
A white ball identical to those used in the NatWest T20 Blast was attached to a helium balloon and survived temperatures of -54 degrees centigrade and a peak pressure of 9.9 mbar.
As it soared back to earth, it reached speeds of up to 500 mph and after its parachute was deployed, it landed safely in Newbury, Berkshire, in near-perfect condition.
Up, up and away - the ball is sent up towards space...
"Ahead of the launch of the NatWest T20 Blast season, we wanted to do something that would reflect the competition’s exciting brand of cricket and vibrant in-ground atmosphere," ECB chief executive David Collier said.
"By sending a cricket ball to the edge of space, we’ve come up with an innovative idea which vividly illustrates our own plans to make this summer’s NatWest T20 Blast competition a truly memorable experience for cricket fans everywhere."
© Cricket World 2014