A cuddly toy blasted into space as part of a school science project has gone missing.
Equipment attached to Sam the Dog was recovered in a field near Burnley but there was no sign of the furry doggie astronaut.
Now project organisers have launched a search and rescue mission across Lancashire and Yorkshire for Sam’s safe return.
Sam, the mascot of the Midland Hotel in Morecambe, was sent into orbit by helium balloon on Tuesday from the hotel roof.
Incredible hi-tec images showed him reaching an altitude of 25km above the earth.
Sam was filmed by specially attached GoPro action cameras and tracked by GPS equipment as he rose at a rate of six metres per second.
But then the balloon popped and now the canine cosmonaut is nowhere to be seen after becoming detached during re-entry.
The mascot was launched by a team of Morecambe Bay Primary School pupils who joined forces with Midland Hotel managers English Lakes Hotels and SentIntoSpace.com .
“Sam’s flight went beautifully, taking him to the edge of space and well past the Armstrong limit of 19 kilometres above the earth,” explains Ben Berry from English Lakes Hotels.
“Space travel is a risky business and Sam’s freefall didn’t quite go as planned.
“We are offering a reward for his safe return. The person who finds Sam will be treated to a complimentary stay at the Midland Hotel.”
Chris Rose from Sheffield-based SentIntoSpace.com adds: “Our GPS tracking equipment and live telemetry systems quickly enabled us to find the payload when it returned to earth near Burnley, but when we got there Sam was nowhere to be seen.
“Our footage indicates that one of the helium balloon tethers got tangled with the mascot when it burst at peak altitude and the freefall part of the flight commenced.
“We do not have any data on the aerodynamics of a toy dog or its terminal velocity, but we’re pretty sure Sam landed within a 40-50 mile radius of Burnley.
“He could have landed in North Lancashire or as far afield as York, Sheffield, or the Peak District.”
Siobhan Collingwood from Morecambe Bay Community Primary School added: “The children created history with the space launch and would love to see Sam the Dog safely returned with tales to tell of his adventures.”
Anyone who finds Sam the Dog should contact English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues on 01539 433 773.