Headlines > News > Spaceship Company test fires Britain's most powerful rocket engine

Spaceship Company test fires Britain's most powerful rocket engine

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Tue Nov 14, 2006 9:46 pm
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Starchaser; The rocket stanchions at RAF Spadeadam, which were originally used for the Blue Streak space exploration programme, have stood silent for over three decades. For years the massive concrete pads and ramparts of this forgotten answer to Cape Canaveral have remained a forlorn and moss covered monument to headier days of empire and British technological pre-eminence

But on Thursday 16th November, the rocket engine testing facilities of RAF Spadeadam near Carlisle will thunder into service once more, as Starchaser Industries, Britain’s leading Spaceship development company is set to test fire their STORM rocket engine as a key milestone towards launching tourists into space.

“STORM is the largest rocket engine of its kind ever to be built and tested in the UK” said Steve Bennett, CEO of the UK and US based aerospace company, “STORM is the culmination of over six years of research and development and a successful outcome to these tests will position Starchaser squarely in the space launch market place”

With an average thrust of more than 68,000 Newtons, which is equivalent to being able to lift over 7 tonnes to space, the liquid oxygen / kerosene fed STORM rocket engine utilises the same technology as used in the Saturn 5 rocket which took America to the moon.

Test firing involves suspending the £2 million engine via a steel gantry structure over a high concrete cliff where the engine will be fired to produce a spectacular, 15 metre (50 foot) long column of white hot fire. The noise level is expected to be over 150 decibels and really will shake the earth! A number of short duration tests are to take place earlier in the week leading to the full duration 15 second engine burn on
Thursday 16th November at 11am, which has been designated press and media day.

STORM engines will be used to power Starchaser’s unmanned Skybolt rocket 85 miles into space within 18 months of the completion of the Spadeadam firings and will also be used aboard the Thunderstar / Starchaser 5 space tourism rocket which aims to beat the competition as the first privately built space vehicle to launch fare paying passengers.

All potential attendees must register their interest with Starchaser prior to 12 noon on Wednesday 15th November in order to satisfy MOD security requirements. The Spadeadam test area is located just north of the village of Gilsland, about 15 miles east of Carlisle along the A69. The RAF base is signposted from the village.

About Starchaser
Starchaser Industries, (www.starchaser.co.uk), is an international privately held company that specialises in the development, operation and commercialisation of space related products and services. Starchaser technology enables new space related business opportunities by providing safe, reliable, affordable and reusable access to space for both the space tourism and micro-satellite launch markets.
Starchaser Industries also has an established and highly successful Outreach Programme that engages with both the general public and education. Starchaser’s educational activities complement the UK national curriculum and help inspire and motivate students at all levels to pursue careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Starchaser provides students with opportunities for involvement in research and development projects to actively promote the STEM subjects and encourage them to pursue higher education at the graduate and postgraduate levels.

Except for the historical information contained herein, matters discussed in this news release may constitute forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the statements.

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