Students at Landscove Primary, Devon, launched a potato dressed as Santa into space as part of a school project.

The spud, dressed in a white beard and red hat was installed in a  “spaceship” – Spudnik2 – made from plastic drink bottles and a veg box tied to a helium weather balloon with a camera attached.

The rocket then soared 17 miles into the cloud where the onboard camera captured stunning images of the curvature of the earth.

The balloon’s journey lasted two hours and twenty minutes before bursting. The makeshift craft then floated back to Earth on a parachute.

The rocket touched down 140 miles away from its launch site after which the students located Spudnik2 using a GPS tracking device.

Headmaster Robin Smith said: “It may seem like a mad idea, but it was a unique project and the children really learned a lot from the experience. It was ridiculous but really good fun.”