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Chronology of Key Events

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Starchaser 5 booster Near future
launch venue TBC
Starchaser 5 is designed to carry space tourism vehicles, such as the Thunderstar capsule, on sub-orbital flight profiles of more than 100km into space. With a lead time of less than 20 months, construction will commence on the first Starchaser 5 booster following a successful space launch of the first Skybolt rocket.
Skybolt sounding rocket 2006 - Ongoing
Launch venue TBC
A totally reusable liquid propellant sounding rocket with a payload capacity of 20kg that will provide about 4 minutes of microgravity. Skybolt will demonstrate a low acceleration profile of less than 6 Gs which means that relatively delicate biological payloads may be flown. Skybolt is directly relevant to Starchaser's manned spaceflight initiative in that it is, for all intents and purposes, a fully functioning scale model of Starchaser 5.
Storm bi-liquid engine c.2007 - ongoing
Northern England
The 7.5 tonne thrust Storm engine has been designed as a propulsion system for the Skybolt sounding rocket. A cluster of 5 x Storm engines will also be used to power the Starchaser 5b space tourism booster.
Thunderstar capsule 2004 - ongoing
Starchaser UK
A prototype Thunderstar capsule has been developed to evaluate crew ergonomics and to test the recoverability of the 3-person capsule under LES abort conditions. Initial test flights are to be conducted in combination with a Starchaser 4 rocket booster.
Churchill Mk 3 Engine 2004 - ongoing
Starchaser UK
Largest of Starchaser's Lox / kerosene bi-liquid rocket engines that will generate an equivalent thrust of some 15 tonnes. Two Mk 3 engines will be used to power the Starchaser 5a launch vehicle for space tourism purposes.
Launch Escape System (LES) 2003 - ongoing
Starchaser UK
A rocket engine powered safety system that is being developed to safeguard the lives of Starchaser astronauts. The Starchaser LES will protect the crew during all phases of powered ascent.
Nova Mk2 capsule 22nd July 2003
Arizona USA
Successful manned parachute drop test flights from a C123-K carrier aircraft at altitudes of over 10,000 ft. Steerable ram air parachute technology was used to bring the pilot and capsule safely down to controlled runway landings.
Churchill Mk2 Engine 10th June 2003
HSE laboratory UK
Starchaser's first 3 tonne thrust bi-liquid engine, designated Churchill Mk 2, was successfully test fired. The first series of tests culminated in a long duration burn of some 53 seconds. Churchill Mk2 provided crucial data for the engines that Starchaser is currently developing for manned applications.
Churchill Mk1 engine 7th October 2002
HSE laboratory UK
The 500kg thrust bi-liquid engine, designated Churchill Mk1, was the first of Starchaser's lox / kerosene engines. Churchill Mk 1 performed well and provided a wealth of data that was used in the development of the Mk 2 engine.
Large hybrid engine 4th October 2002
HSE laboratory UK
First firing of the large hybrid engine designated Newton. This full scale 15 tonne thrust engine has been designed to burn used, reconstituted, automotive tyres in the presence of liquid oxygen.
Sharp 5 14th April 2002
Morecambe Bay
A repeat of the Sharp 4 frictional heating experiment using a second rocket. Results obtained from both flights have been useful in confirming re-entry heating management strategies for Starchaser's space launch vehicles.
Sharp 4 14th April 2002
Morecambe Bay
Nose cone temperature sensing apparatus was launched as part of a final year aeronautical engineering project at the University of Salford. In-flight frictional heating caused the temperature of the nose to rise by about 75 degrees Celsius during powered flight.
Nova4 22nd November 2001
Morecambe Bay
All objectives were met. Mobile launch tower, ignition system, airframe, recovery systems, computers, GPS and telemetry systems were all validated. Nova became the largest rocket ever to be launched from the British mainland.
Sharp 2 16th December 2000
Morecambe Bay
New telemetry and audio visual equipment were validated. Flight used to confirm suitability of test equipment for high velocity flight. Parameters logged until vehicle slowed to sub-sonic velocities. SHARP 2 withstood a maximum acceleration of 18 Gs and captured onboard video footage of the entire flight.
Discovery 6th July 2000
Morecambe Bay
Starchaser Discovery demonstrated Starchaser's ability to operate the world's first fully re-usable multi-staged research rocket. Starchaser Discovery was also equipped with sophisticated telemetry and video equipment.
Sharp 1 2nd May 2000
Morecambe Bay
SHARP 1 attained a maximum altitude of 5,600 metres (18,238 feet) and realised 4.9 seconds of supersonic flight.
Starchaser 3a 20th August 1999
Morecambe Bay
Exceeding its target altitude of 20,000 feet, this vehicle generated over 4 tonnes of thrust & returned safely via parachute.
TEMPEST 5th March 1999
Altcar, Merseyside
Tempest achieved all of its objectives becoming the first Starchaser rocket to make a successful marine recovery.
Starchaser 3 20th March 1998
Okehampton, Devon
Shortly after leaving the launch pad a motor mis-ignition problem caused the rocket to impact the ground mile downrange.
Starchaser LEXX 7th Feb 1997
Otterburn, NE UK
The rocket achieved all its objectives. Lexx reached a recorded altitude of 15,673 feet and became the first Starchaser rocket to break the sound barrier.
Starchaser 1a (4th flight) 19th May 1996
Barnard Castle, Teesdale
The rocket achieved all of its objectives and when one of the parachutes failed to deploy, a backup system successfully engaged to bring the vehicle safely down to Earth.
Starchaser 2 2nd February 1996
Otterburn, NE UK
The rocket achieved all of its objectives and was recovered intact. Starchaser 2 generated 2.4 million worth of publicity for sponsors Tate+Lyle sugars and measuring 21 feet in length, qualified as the largest private civilian rocket ever built and flown in Europe.
Starchaser 1a (3rd flight) 10th Dec 1995
Barnard Castle, Teesdale
The rocket successfully achieved all of its objectives.
Starchaser 1a (2nd flight) 27th August 1995
Kilbirnie, Scotland
The rocket successfully achieved all of its objectives.
Starchaser 1a (1st flight) 23rd May 1995
Sarn, Wales
The rocket successfully achieved all of its objectives and was safely recovered by parachute.
Starchaser 1 1st November 1993
Bickerton, Cheshire
The rocket delivered its payload to a target apogee of 2,400 feet but failed to deploy its recovery system and was destroyed upon landing.