John Pye Auctions have reached new heights – by sending a branded red model house into near space to promote the launch of forthcoming property online auctions.

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We are now taking entries for their first property online auction to be held in September, using our bespoke tried, tested and well established online platform, holding more than 250 auctions a year, selling a vast range of clearance and surplus stock and assets for UK Banks, Finance Companies, Insolvency Practitioners, Government Authorities and Retail PLCs.

“We wanted to illustrate to the property market what can be achieved with a new innovative approach to auctions, as we have done in the other market sectors,” said John Pye Auctions Business Development Director Sheldon Miller. “So the idea was to send a red John Pye Auctions house up to space.

“It all started when we had a supplier come in to do some systems work for us and over one sandwich break we got chatting about interests.

The supplier, Will Moody, showed me a video of a helium balloon launch he and his brother carried out, sending a little model rocket into space.

“I was transfixed by this video and the height to which the rocket went above the Earth through the atmosphere and the video footage captured. The views were stunning. “I asked him ‘could we work with you to do this with a red John Pye Auctions model house?’ It looked a very innovative and memorable way of demonstrating and illustrating the points of how John Pye Auctions can widen auction sales horizons for property clients, rising above local markets. “So began three months of launch planning and preparation. It’s a fairly new concept of high altitude ballooning; the process of creating a rig and utilising new technology of on-board mini video cameras and satellite trackers to launch up towards space.

“It’s not something to be embarked upon lightly. It requires an immense amount of preparation, planning and risk management and has to be done with Civil Aviation Authority approval to ensure a safe flight path well away from any private or commercial flight activity. “You can’t just send a red branded model house up into space tied to a helium balloon and hope for the best.

There are a great deal of critical considerations to be effectively assessed, considered and worked around: the weather, wind elements, air traffic, flight navigation and, lastly, what goes up must come down; so a safe drop zone is a critical consideration.

“We were very focused on the rig coming back down to Earth risk free; not just because we wanted to protect the rig, the house and the video footage recorded but, more importantly, for a safe and soft landing in a rural spot well away from any urban areas, people and property.” The John Pye Launch Team spent weeks planning a safe launch, firstly commissioning a bespoke model maker to create the red Monopoly style house, strong enough to withstand space travel and temperatures of -70c but also light enough to reach near space height and float down safely on a parachute descent.

Once the red John Pye Auction house was manufactured, the Launch Team set about building the rig, which comprised of a radio tracker, backup satellite tracker and on-board telemetry to relay location, altitude, and temperature data to the ground team. The rig’s outer structure was polystyrene to ensure a safe landing and to keep it afloat in the event that it landed on water. Launch Project Flight Director, Will Moody of CRM Storm, said: “During the first 10,000 feet of descent where the atmosphere is thin, the rig builds up significant speed.

We had to do plenty of testing to make sure the red John Pye Auctions house stayed secure and in shot, once the parachute caught sufficient level of oxygen. “We also deployed computer technology that could provide us with a projected flight path from launch site to drop zone over a two week period in the build up to the launch. It does this with longitude and latitude data fed into the system, cross reference with Met Office forecast data and projection of thermals. So on this basis we ran daily flight path projections every day for two weeks to ensure we were on the right safe path, as requested by the CAA.” The red model house was launched from John Pye Auctions West Midlands Hub in Marchington, Staffs and followed the projected flight path West across Staffordshire and into Shropshire, landing 35 miles away in a farmer’s corn field.

The main part of the rig contained two onboard GoPro cameras with one focused on the house and another directed to the wider World view. John Pye Auctions followed the balloon flight path by car, using the satellite tracker to retrieve the rig upon landing. They also attached a note to the side of the rig asking anyone who may find it before them to call them.” Will Moody added: “We were five miles away from the drop zone when a local farmer called us. He was checking on his corn field and saw the rig parachute down from the sky and into his field.” The farmer was Matt Dalton, of Ellerton, Newport, Shropshire, who said: “I was just out checking my crops, walking around the field and noticed something parachuting down from the sky. It was a bit surreal to be honest! It’s not something you see every day.

It’s been a memorable end to the week.” Mr Dalton read the note and called the number on the side of the rig and the John Pye Auctions launch team met with him 10 minutes later. Sheldon Miller added: “We’re very grateful for Mr Dalton’s due diligence and safe and secure retrieval help with the launch. He’s definitely earnt himself a good bottle of whisky as thanks. We’re very pleased it was a successful and safe launch and landing and I think the final footage speaks for itself, it’s simply stunning.

That little red house has been to the final frontier for John Pye Auctions. We’ll now have it on display in our Nottingham Head Office reception as the house from space.” The unique video of the John Pye Auctions red house heading to space can be viewed at: John Pye Auctions will release a making of video in 3-4 weeks outlining the launch preparation and delivery.

The company will also be running a competition on social media for users to guess the height it reached. The competition will be launched later this week and will be revealed halfway through the first John Pye Property online auction on Friday Sept 19th. Competition details can be found on