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British Company To Fly Manned Rocket Capsule

Starchaser's mission is to create the transport systems to support commercial access to space in the 21st century
London - Apr 01, 2003
British independent rocket builder Starchaser Industries will publicly unveil their new "NOVA" rocket capsule this week in Hyde, Cheshire. The event will take place Thursday April 3 at the Village Hotel, Captain Clarke Road, Hyde, Cheshire, SK14 4QG.

Weighing in at 200 kg and measuring 3 metres in length, the single seater Nova II capsule is being readied for shipment to the USA where it is to be fitted with a custom parachute system. The manned capsule will then be dropped from a C-123K transport aircraft at an altitude of 14,000 feet over the Red Lake Drop Zone Arizona, in order to practice landing the reusable craft.

Once proven, the capsule will be attached to the Starchaser Nova rocket, which was first flown from Morecambe Bay in November 2001, for further unmanned tests followed by a manned launch to an altitude of at least 30,000 feet.

NOVA II will become Britain's first manned rocket capsule and will test a variety of systems for use in project Thunderbird; Starchaser Industries entry into the US $10 million X-Prize which is on offer to the first non-governmental organisation capable of launching three people into space.

Starchaser Industries Managing Director and test pilot Steve Bennett, a veteran of over 100 high altitude skydives said "We have proved the design of the rocket and capsule both on paper and in the air, it's now time to show the world that we mean business and move on to the manned phase of our rocket programme"

The VILLAGE HOTEL, Hyde have made their fitness centre and sports trainers available to Starchaser Industries for the purpose of maintaining and improving Steve's level of physical fitness in preparation for the upcoming test flights.

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SpaceX Performs First Engine Firings
El Segundo - Mar 28, 2003
New rocket entrant SpaceX has announced the successful firing of the company's Falcon rocket main engine earlier this month. While drawing upon the ideas of many prior launch vehicle programs from Apollo to the X-34/Fastrac, SpaceX is privately developing the entire Falcon rocket from the ground up, including both engines, the turbo-pump, the cryogenic tank structure and the guidance system.