Skybolt 2 blasted off mid-morning today from a Ministry of Defence facility in northern England on an eventual mission to take travellers to the edge of space.
The ‘reusable’ Skybolt 2 research rocket measured in at 27ft and was launched from the back of a flat bed truck this morning in Northumberland. The rocket reached 4,000ft before descending back to Earth by parachute. The launch was designed to test the rockets electronic systems and landed in three pieces two miles from the launch pad.
There are millions of people who’d like to take a trip to outer space and a successful flight of Skybolt will take us another step closer to making this a reality.Starchaser managing director Steve Bennett
The rocket was produced by Manchester-based Starchaser – long term the firm is aiming to create a rocket capable of transporting people to 330k ft.
Starchaser collaborated with the University of Chesters Science and Engineering Faculty and the successful test means the next step will be manned tests of Starchaser’s Space Tourism rocket.
A stuffed toy dog called Sam was also launched on behalf of Morecambe Bay Primary school in Lanchaster
The biggest rocket launched in Britain was the Black Arrow (R3) launched Prospero X-3 46 years ago. It is still the only British satellite to be sent into space using a British rocket.
What was the purpose of Skybolt 2
- To engage young people and encourage them to pursue Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subject areas.
- To flight test an array of electronic instruments for use in future manned rockets.
- To fly an accelerometer payload for Sheffield Hallam University
- To test a bespoke parachute recovery system for use in future manned rockets.
- To fly a commercial payload of Space inspired jewellery.
- As a publicity tool for Starchaser and its partners.
- As a springboard in pursuit of social funding which will bear future Starchaser projects.
The launch today was not open to the public due to the highly experimental nature of the rocket and for security. However, the successful flight will pave the way for the launch of the larger Nova 2 rocket, to which the general public will be invited later this year.