BRITISH space enthusiasts have made history by launching a paper aeroplane into space which captured a series of breathtaking images on its glide back to earth. The team crafted the aeroplane from sheets and straws of paper, fitted it with a camera and attached it to a helium weather balloon to lift it into the atmosphere. After drifting 17 miles into space, the balloon exploded, allowing the 3ft wingspan aircraft to soar back to earth while taking pictures of its descent. Code-named Operation PARIS (Paper Aircraft Released Into Space), the project saw the aeroplane take off from a remote area 50 miles west of Madrid, Spain on October 28. Steve Daniels, Lester Haines and John Oates, who designed the plane, monitored its flight during its 90-minute ascent to 90,000ft using a GPS navigation system. After the expanding helium caused the balloon to burst, they then tracked it as it glided downwards for another 90 minutes. Remarkably, it landed only 100 miles from its release point in an area of woodland and was intact, save one small hole in its wing. Mr Daniels, 42, an IT consultant from Paignton, Devon, said the team of amateur space explorers embarked on the project 'for a laugh but ended up spending around 8,000. The married father-of-two said: 'Somebody laun-ched a bit of cheese out of a balloon, which we thought was bit stupid. 'We thought we could do something more technical than that. It seems really silly but it was brilliant fun. 'Nobody had ever done it before, so we were worried about what could go wrong. It was a little bit stressful. The three enthusiasts got together after discussing the project on the IT website The Register and were sponsored by Peer One Networking. Oates added: We wanted a daft project but we were amazed by how successful it was. We are absolutely delighted. I never thought we would find the plane at all. It could have ended up anywhere and I thought it would be smashed to pieces. To find it intact in such a wild area was amazing. There was a small hole in the wing, but otherwise it was fine. Telegraph