A group from Tameside will be ‘reaching for the stars’ as they prepare to launch the UK’s biggest ever rocket on Monday (11 September).

Starchaser Industries, based on Dunkirk Lane in Hyde, are scheduled to launch their ‘Skybolt 2 Research Rocket’ from Otterburn, Northumberland at 10:30am on Monday morning.

Standing at over 8 meters (27 feet) tall the reusable, British-made rocket, will pave the way for manned tests of Starchaser’s planned ‘Space Tourism rocket’.

The project is in collaborations with the Science and Engineering Faculty of the University of Chester and will test vital electronic systems and the bespoke parachute recovery system to ensure the rocket returns to earth intact.

Other payloads will include a science project from Sheffield Hallam University, commercial cargo and a number of video cameras.

In addition, a stuffed toy dog called Sam will also be launched for Morecambe Bay Primary School, whose pupils will be there to watch and cheer him on.

Starchaser Managing Director Steve Bennett said: “There are millions of people who’d like to take a trip to outer space and a successful flight of Skybolt 2 will take us another step closer to making this a reality.

“And as part of our Educational Outreach Programme, Skybolt 2 will go on to inspire many thousands of youngsters as it will tour schools following the launch”

Professor Nick Avis, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Knowledge Transfer at the University of Chester, and Provost of the University’s Thornton Science Park, added: “The University of Chester is delighted to support Starchaser and to collaborate on this research project – which is already sparking inspiration for the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s undergraduate projects at Thornton Science Park. Steve and his team already work with us engaging young people and encouraging them to pursue Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subject areas.

“Our students have the opportunity to undertake industrial placements as part of their degree programmes at companies such as Starchaser Industries and we look forward to continuing our close partnership with them on their future ambitious projects.”​

Although designed to fly more than 100 km to the edge of space, the maximum altitude for this first flight of the rocket has been limited to 4000 feet, to avoid interfering with commercial air traffic and to ensure a safe landing within the Otterburn Danger Area.