Rocket man takes his space quest to stately home
AN entrepreneur has taken a further step in his quest to launch a tourist trip to space with a rocket test in rural Macclesfield.
Rocket fan Steve Bennett made it his life’s goal to send a manned mission into space after becoming hooked on science as a young child.
The former Salford University lab assistant set up his own company, Starchaser, in 1992 as he bids to make his dream a reality.
An audience of hundreds of children from more than 20 schools were there to witness his latest experiment in the grounds of the Capesthorne Hall estate in Siddington, Macclesfield.
The 12ft rocket, a col- laboration with the University of Chester, was testing vital electronic systems that he hopes will be used aboard Starchaser’s future ‘space tourism’ rockets.
It was also carrying an experimental GPS package from the University of Manchester, air quality monitoring experiment as well as two onboard video cameras.
The maximum altitude for the re-usable rocket was limited to 3,000 feet so as not to interfere with the operation of the nearby Lovell radio telescope at Jodrell Bank. And after reaching a top speed of more than 200mph, the rocket was safely brought down using a parachute.
Mr Bennett said he hoped inviting local children to witness the dramatic test would help inspire the next generation of scientists.
He said: “This country needs more scientists and engineers. What better way to inspire the next generation than with the spectacular launch of a large scale British rocket?”
Professor Nick Avis, executive dean of the faculty of science and engineering at the University of Chester said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project, which links nicely to our new science and engineering programmes at the UK’s first engineering faculty for more than two decades.
“Our students will have the opportunity to undertake industrial placements as part of their degree programmes at companies such as Starchaser Industries and we look forward to working closely with them on their future ambitious projects.”
It is hoped a successful flight will lay the groundwork for the launch of a manned space mission before the end of the decade.
●● The Tempest rocket takes off from Capesthorne Hall in Siddington
●● The rocket coming back down to earth
●● Steve Bennett