3 July, 2008 – UK's biggest rocket to be launched at Salford University
The UK's largest space rocket was unveiled to the public on Tuesday by Salford University academic Steve Bennett. The head of the University's Space Technology Laboratory has amibitious plans to send tourists to space by 2013.
Mr Bennett discussed how his company, Starchaser Industries, plans to launch the 58ft Nova2 rocket in 2009 with the help of school pupils from across the UK at the unveiling ceremony in Salford.
The Nova 2 has been created by Starchaser to test a safety system which, if successful, will form the design of an even bigger rocket to carry visitors into space.
In September 2009 the Nova 2 will be launched from a UK launch site in order to put the vessel’s safety systems to the test. The capsule that will be ejected mid-air will be unmanned and has been designed to land safely by parachute.
If successful, the safety system will be integrated into the rocket that will send fare paying passengers into space – so that travellers can be safely landed even in the unlikely event of a major rocket malfunction.
Steve said: "Nova 2 qualifies as the biggest rocket ever created and flown from the UK mainland. Early next year we will set out on a nationwide tour of schools across the country and we hope some of those pupils will join us for the launch in September 2009.
"Our ultimate aim, though, is to carry people into space and our latest rocket takes us another step closer to that ambition."
If successful, Steve’s space tourism initiative will enable the public to purchase flights where they will spend 20 minutes in the air and experience three to four minutes of weightlessness. They will travel at 3,500 miles per hour and receive intensive safety training in advance of the flights.
Source: University of Salford