Mission control to Manchester: British 'rocket man' launches mission to become first private firm to put tourists into space
Last updated at 12:59 PM on 26th September 2010
A team of British rocketeers plan to open the door to the stars by becoming the first private firm to put tourists in space.
Starchaser boss Steve Bennett and astronaut Matt Shrewbridge hope to loft the first paying passengers into the cosmos by 2015.
But before they can do that the Manchester-based firm, must carry out a series of trials.
The first ‘milestone’ in November will be testing their 20ft Launch Escape System (LES) – a rescue pod that separates from the rocket if the spacecraft fails.
Out of this world: Astronaut Matt Shrewbridge stands inside a rocket pod being tested next month
And next year they plan a manned launch test, firing the already-built 70ft 'Starchaser 4 off the ground in Morecambe Bay, Lancashire.
If successful it will be the biggest rocket ever launched in Britain.
During both test flights - kept within the Earth's orbit - the LES will be controlled from the ground.
In future - during space flights - a Starchaser pilot will activate the LES, saving the three-to-five passengers on board.
Once Starchaser is fully operational passenger-rockets will take off from Spaceport America near the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
Starchaser owns 20 acres and buildings at the site, which will eventually become mission control for the amazing operation.
Two unnamed tourists have already paid £250,000 each for the first seats and other places are available at £98,000 (plus taxes).
Tourists will be treated to a 23-minute sub-orbital flight 62 miles up, and will officially enter space.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1315355/British-rocket-man-launches-mission-private-company-tourists-space--hopes-sky-high-earner.html#ixzz10dquB5ks