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A Grand Day Out For British Rocketman

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the low-grav-high-tea dept.

Space 122

Instine writes "Salford University, in the UK, is showing an article suggesting that Britain's biggest ever rocket has been unveiled, by an academic planning a space tourism offering by 2013. 'Nova 2 qualifies as the biggest rocket ever created and flown from the UK mainland,' says Steve Bennett, Head of Salford's Space Technology Laboratory The current offering is said to amount to 20 minutes 'flight' and 3-4 mins floating. I'm not sure how much, but I'd pay for that."

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Biggest ever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24015271)

We need a a bigger rocket for space tourism? Since when are African elephants interested in space tourism? And I'm quite sure I've recently heard of some rocket that could already carry the whole elephant family, up to the grand-grand parents...

Re:Biggest ever? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24015351)

I suspect that the average tourist is fatter than the average astronaut

Re:Biggest ever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24015497)

I thought you were going to say fatter than the average elephant.

Re:Biggest ever? (1)

RaceCarDriver (856347) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017301)

I thought you were going to say fatter than the average elephant.

I was expecting that as well. It wasn't as funny once I finished reading his whole sentence.

Re:Biggest ever? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24015577)

Probably oriented to the average American consumer.

Re:Biggest ever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24015969)

nope, though you do have a point. Got me wondering though, can you imagine a theme park or other tourist attraction where there is nobody obese to be seen? It would be a pretty rare sight.

Re:Biggest ever? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017705)

Look up the Sea Dragon. It could carry the whole zoo.

FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24015319)

Burning out his fuse out there! I'm not the man they say I am at home! Oh no, no, no! I'm an Anonymous Coward! Anon-y-mous!

Well.. (5, Funny)

Peter_The_Linux_Nerd (1292510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015329)

It might the biggest but it's not the best, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwIhEDq6tdY [youtube.com]

Re:Well.. (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017745)

Same guys as far as I can remember, so that doesn't count for anything

Re:Well.. (3, Informative)

SniffTheGlove (1261240) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022747)

Not same guys at all. The TG Relaint Robin was done by "The Rocket Men" which is Damian Hall and Colin Rowe. Nova, Nov2 2 is by Steve Bennett. As for counting I would ride in a vehicle desgined by Damian/Colin but would steer well clear of Steve Bennett.

3-4 mins floating (1)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015349)

Just enough time for a nice cup of tea.

But seriously, its cool to see progress from all these small/private space companies.. onward and upward!

Re:3-4 mins floating (1)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017251)

But seriously, its cool to see progress from all these small/private space companies..

Correction: it would be nice to see some actual progress from these companies. So far all we've seen is "concept drawings" and announcement after announcement of what they're planning to do in the future. Paper and vapor.

I wish them all luck and such, but I'll get excited when any of them actually puts people into LEO. Repeatably. Cheaper and safer then what we have now.

I think Elon Musk is the prime example of a "space entrepreneur" who's been forced to eat humble pie after repeated failure of his grandly announced space ventures. I hope he'll succeed in the end, but he's currently learning what these other wannabee upstarts keep missing: it is rocket science.

Superhuman children? (5, Funny)

MjDelves (811950) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015361)

From the article: "Steve Bennett who heads up the University's Space Technology Laboratory, will be presenting his 58ft Nova 2 rocket at the University and will discuss how his company, Starchaser Industries plans to launch it in September 2009 with the help of school pupils from across the UK. "

.

How many kids does it take to reach escape velocity??

Re:Superhuman children? (4, Insightful)

residieu (577863) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015429)

Depends on how hard you throw them out the back of the rocket.

Re:Superhuman children? (3, Funny)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015513)

not fast enough for salford kids (recalls being beaten up by Salford kids in the past) (ducks)

Re:Superhuman children? (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015879)

Salford? Bah - I went to school in Moss Side :o)

Re:Superhuman children? (5, Funny)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016087)

You lived in Mosside and you actually went to school ! You must have taken some beatings for that.

Re:Superhuman children? (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015713)

How many kids does it take to reach escape velocity??

The average UK child these days is grossly obese, so quite a lot I'd imagine.

Re:Superhuman children? (4, Insightful)

greenguy (162630) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015753)

All this science, I don't understand.

Re:Superhuman children? (2, Informative)

fprintf (82740) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017663)

It seems none of the mods has heard "Rocket Man" from Elton John... awesome post in response to the "scientific" analysis of chucking kids out the back of a rocket. Well done.

Re:Superhuman children? (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022695)

burnin on the strings of heavalon.

Re:Superhuman children? (1)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 6 years ago | (#24018911)

No, you got it wrong. They'll use a kid fueled reactor (they must be out of kitten or something). So, answering your question, it depends on how fast you can feed them to the engine.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24015373)

The new rocket is for the whales...

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017419)

No, they're going to use it for towels. Dolphins always forget their towels and what are they going to do in outer space without towels?

Headline of 2013 (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015375)

"World's 5th richest enters poverty this week after purchasing a 20 minute flight in space. Fox asks this man, as he cries on the corner. 'was it worth it?'"

Re:Headline of 2013 (2, Insightful)

bonehead (6382) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016355)

Excellent point.

My main problem with nearly every space tourism idea that I've seen floated is that they all want to offer you a few minutes of zero g, and charge the price of a new car, or more.

Maybe if I had a Bill Gates caliber bank account, I'd consider it. But for an average person, 4 minutes of ANYTHING, no matter how cool, just isn't worth the kind of money they're wanting to charge. Even if they throw in a smokin' hot hooker to be your seat-mate.

They need some sort of a "space hotel" to make it worthwhile. If they can't get the costs down, and it seems likely that they won't be able to, then they need to offer a substantial amount of time in space before any of these plans begin to look enticing.

Re:Headline of 2013 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24016803)

Right, and it's not like you have to start somewhere.

Re:Headline of 2013 (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017551)

Well, air travel used to be restricted to the very well-off, too. Remember the phrase "jet set"? For that matter, there was a time when cars were basically toys for rich eccentrics. If rich people are willing to pay a bunch of money for a few minutes of thrill ride, that's great; they're essentially funding the R&D that will eventually bring the cost down to where the rest of us can afford it.

Re:Headline of 2013 (2, Funny)

fprintf (82740) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017695)

I dunno, it seems there are lots of people, like former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who are willing to pay "the price of a car" for 4 minutes of fun.

Obligatory Nick Park Comment (5, Funny)

stokessd (89903) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015395)

The FUSE Grommet, you forgot to light the fuse!!!

Re:Obligatory Nick Park Comment (2, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015743)

Here is the background [imdb.com] , for those not in the know.

More importantly, on the way up they forgot the parking brake, not to mention the crackers. If you have not seen the show, it is a beautiful thing to watch.

Umm...what's the point..... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24015451)

of launching rockets from the UK Mainland?

If you want to get into orbit, you need to launch as close to the equator as possible. That's why we launch from Florida, and the Europeans from Africa.

This is like talking about the biggest rocket to be launched from Vermont. Guess that's not too big, either!

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (3, Informative)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015589)

Not necessarily. You can launch from anywhere, it just costs you more to accelerate (slightly less starting speed than at the equator) and possibly more to get into the orbit you want.

Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome is further north than most of the UK and they certainly launch lots of stuff from there - though they prefer Baikonur, its politically more difficult....

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24019003)

Israel even launches retrogradedly over the Med.

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (1)

rpjs (126615) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015609)

Unfortunately we leased the only remaining bit of the British Empire near the equator [wikipedia.org] to you lot back in 1976.

However unless I'm very much mistaken a near-equatorial location is only advantageous for equatorial orbits, and a polar orbit can be launched from any latitude.

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24016235)

Ascension is only 8deg South of the equator, or did you forget about that?

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (1)

rpjs (126615) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017121)

Hmm, yes I did, but that's sort of semi-leased to the US too...

We should never have given up RAF Gan if you ask me.

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24016311)

Eh? What 'lot' are you talking about?

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (1)

dwye (1127395) | more than 6 years ago | (#24018965)

Unfortunately we leased the only remaining bit of the British Empire near the equator to you lot back in 1976.

According to the Wikipedia article, it is a joint base. Or do you think that the USAF will shoot down your rockets for having the temerity of challenging the agency that stole of USAF's rocketry program, and cancelled their Dyna-Soar program that would have built an un-Proxmireable space shuttle in the 1960s?

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (1)

Illbay (700081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24019027)

But you guys run Diego Garcia along with us!


C'mon, strap one o' those suckers to a 747 and tote 'er out there! Let's see how far she gets with a little more centrifugal "oomph" behind her!

(I've ALWAYS wanted to conquer the solar system along with our Brit cousins! We can NEVER repay you enough for the British Invasion [wikipedia.org] !)

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015661)

The point is that you can ride the tube train to the launch site in the morning, and be home in time for evening tea.

If you are not planning to leave Earth's gravity, there is no overwhelming need to have the extra orbital speed offered at the equator. If the flight plan is up, then back down again, you have to pay a lot of attention to the landing part as you take off. I suspect that launching from England augments the entire process, or curbs it to a joy ride rather than ISS replenishment mission.

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (3, Informative)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015819)

At the risk of being overly pedantic the tube train usually refers to the London underground rail system. Salford is up-north (next to Manchester) and not on the underground. Apart from driving (M60) you could use the Manchester tram system, British Rail, the Manchester Ship canal, or various buses.

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (4, Funny)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016699)

You could use British Rail, but it'll cost you as much to get to Manchester as it does to get you into space.

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (2)

Source Quench (857046) | more than 6 years ago | (#24021029)

True, at least you'd get a seat if you were going into space.

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017921)

Wow, that was very informational and added a lot to this discussion. Thanks!

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (1)

Pugwash69 (1134259) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015851)

The Tube isn't reliable enough to make it home in time for tea.

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (1)

residieu (577863) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015805)

They're not going for orbital flight, just going up for 20 minutes and falling back down.

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (1)

NCG_Mike (905098) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017641)

As eddie izzard once quipped, "We haven't been into the space race as we can't build a long enough ladder".

Re:Umm...what's the point..... (1)

karlwilson (1124799) | more than 6 years ago | (#24018105)

Woah... before this discussion goes any further. You can launch into orbit from any longitude or latitude. It's easiest (takes less fuel) to get into orbit at the equator because that's where you have the most speed (Earth's rotational velocity). And its easiest to get into geosynchronous orbit from latitudes closest to the equator because the closer you are, the less inclination you can launch into.

And now that song is stuck in my head... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24015477)

thanks for nothing subby!

yuo 7aIl it... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24015527)

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time... (3, Funny)

syrinx (106469) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015601)

Bennett went on to say that he is not the man they think he is at home, and that he will be burning up his fuse up there alone.

Eccentrics? (4, Insightful)

19061969 (939279) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015633)

Quoth TFA: "Steve Bennett who heads up the University's Space Technology Laboratory, will be presenting his 58ft Nova 2 rocket at the University and will discuss how his company, Starchaser Industries plans to launch it in September 2009 with the help of school pupils from across the UK."

There is something so British about that statement. I almost expected the guy to say, "well, I knocked it up in my garden shed at weekends with a friend of mine who is a keen amateur astronomer. We thought of getting some of the local schoolchildren to help out which would be good for their Scout's badges."

I miss the old country sometimes even if we are often portrayed as a nation of lovable middle-class eccentrics.

Re:Eccentrics? (4, Insightful)

stokessd (89903) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015779)

I miss the old country sometimes even if we are often portrayed as a nation of lovable middle-class eccentrics.

Yet another reason the wife and I would love to move there... It's hard being a middle-class eccentric in a walmart culture.

Sheldon

Re:Eccentrics? (3, Interesting)

pzs (857406) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015937)

Maybe we could set up an exchange program. Ship Wal-Mart consumer drones from the UK (yes, we have quite a few) to the US in exchange for your middle class eccentrics.

I have a friend who worked in IT in the UK. He got sick of it and went to work on a ranch in rural Australia. I'm willing to bet there are quite a few farmers in rural Australia who would kill to work in IT in the UK.

1. Set up exchanges for people who think the grass is greener.
2. They get to find out if they're right.
3. ???
4. Profit!

Re:Eccentrics? (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016055)

I can see it now, a server farm complete with traps for dingos.

Re:Eccentrics? (1)

SynMonger (454795) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016247)

The dingo ate my data!

Re:Eccentrics? (3, Funny)

stokessd (89903) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017445)

That's because Raid-5 is not really dingo-proof due to the second failure problem and the appetite of the average dingo being about 1.65 disk drives. Every Australian rural server farmer knows that to be safe you really need to go Raid-6. Either that or provide an AOL disk appetizer in front of the raid array.

Sheldon

Re:Eccentrics? (0, Flamebait)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 6 years ago | (#24019401)

Yet another reason the wife and I would love to move there... It's hard being a middle-class eccentric in a walmart culture.

really?...How? You could...ummm....not shop at wal-mart?

I would think that the only thing that would make it hard to be a middle class eccentric is that you aren't middle class, or you aren't eccentric. Don't see that wal-mart has anything to do with it.

Or maybe you are just a little class conscious, in which case you probably would be happier in England.

Re:Eccentrics? (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 6 years ago | (#24020243)

Or maybe he missed that we are "portrayed as" middle class eccentric. No where does it say that we really are.

Re:Eccentrics? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022261)

That could be it. Plenty of middle class eccentrics in the US. They don't get portrayed though.

Re:Eccentrics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24022317)

why reply to the parent when you so obviously do not understand the point he was making?

Re:Eccentrics? (2, Informative)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022513)

Yet another reason the wife and I would love to move there

Be prepared to be surveilled a lot, especially if you live near London. Don't try and speed, there are speed cameras everywhere. You have to pay for a TV licence to watch broadcast TV, put up with a very socialist authoritarian government... and those gun thingies you Slashdotters are always on about? Seriously illegal for virtually anyone to own over here. Carrying a knife in the street may also lead to a 4 year prison sentence.

Hmm (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015691)

Is it bad that I heard British rocketman, and immediately thought Soldier [youtube.com] ?

Re:Hmm (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016749)

Not as bad as when I heard "British Rocketman" and immediately thought of Wallace and Gromit [wallaceandgromit.com] . Though that was certainly assisted by the mention of "A Grand Day Out" in the article title.

Comma Police (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24015755)

This is the third or fourth summary today with an absolute disregard for the usage of the comma and/or proper grammar. That is all.

Torchwood Technology Transfer! (1)

gabble-blotchit (830861) | more than 6 years ago | (#24015757)

Now that the Daleks are threatening to take over earth YET AGAIN It's an absolute cert Torchwood would have something sneaky up their sleeves and the dead giveaway is that Salford Uni quotes all its features in ancient Imperial units and not the modern Metric units they teach.

Consider:

"58ft Nova 2 rocket"

"They will travel at 3,500 miles per hour and receive intensive safety training* in advance of the flights."

I knew we'd beat those pesky pretentious trash-cans somehow - not even Daleks can trundle along that fast :-)

-cheers!

[* 'cos Daleks are dangerous, obviously!]

Re:Torchwood Technology Transfer! (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016151)

Dalek/Cylon crossover. Though it would be pretty gross seeing Six seducing Davros. Baltar could start talking to the Daleks, hack into the system and take Davros' place! I'd like to see the Daleks vs. the new Centurions!

Re:Torchwood Technology Transfer! (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016413)

The Daleks in Doctor Who have pretty much unlimited technology. Basically they were Nazi analogues, genocidal master race advocates with a taste for cool killing machines. In fact in Doctor Who there was a bit where the Doctor and some Thals were escaping up a shaft. The Daleks wait at the bottom and the Thals call out abuse. Then a Dalek team arrives with an antigravitational disk and starts to ascend the shaft. The Doctor looks down at them and says wistfully "You have to admire their technology". The Thals look at him as if he is mad.

To me that always seemed to be a WWII reference - lovable eccentric but disorganised Doctor (1940's UK) vs fascist but well organised, technically competent but vicious Daleks (Nazi Germany). The Thals even looked a bit like Norwegian resistance fighters. You can imagine British scientists saying the same thing as V1 and V2 rockets started to fall on London at the end of WWII. Of course that's a bit of distortion. The V1 and V2 weren't particularly effective weapons and were mostly the result of a small group of visionaries led by von Braun. The UK had visionaries of course but preferred to bet resources on strategic bombing. I.e in WWII it was a highly regimented society using well proven technology in a very ruthless way as opposed to risking large amounts of its productive capacity on wonder weapons. But that's not the self image the UK has.

What's with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24015901)

the descriptions today? Most perfect sphere? Biggest ever rocket?

You'd think the people here would be able to come up with more better adjectives

Starchaser (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24016107)

These are the people that tried to launch a Robin Reliant as part of a Top Gear episode last year. If anyone in the UK can do it, then these are probably the guys. Makes me proud to live in Salford.

Re:Starchaser (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017727)

NO, they are emphatically ***NOT*** the same people.

The Reliant Robin Space Shuttle was built by the UK Rocketmen, led by Damian Hall. Both groups are based near Manchester, UK Rocketmen in Stalybridge, Starchaser near Salford, but that's the only significant link.

I know this, because I spent a week in France last year getting drunk with Damian and a bunch of other miscellaneous rocketry nutters (including ex-Starchaser folks). Great fun :)

Cost of the trip (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24016127)

Original post opined "I'm not sure how much, but I'd pay for that."

From the Starchaser website (http://www.starchaser.co.uk):
"The price of a sub-orbital spaceflight aboard a Starchaser vehicle is currently expected to be £98,000."
(i.e. about $193k)

Biggest British Launch (4, Informative)

Kingston (1256054) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016173)

If anyone was wondering about the rather tortured use of words:

Nova 2 qualifies as the biggest rocket ever created and flown from the UK mainland

It's because Britain used to have a rocket program in the 50s and 60s. All the launches of the large rockets were done from Woomera [wikipedia.org] in the Australian outback. The biggest of these was Blue Streak [wikipedia.org] developed as an ICBM. There are some pictures here [spaceuk.org]

Ladders above Swindon? (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016177)

Eddie Izzard got it just about right, we should go to the moon on foot.

Re:Ladders above Swindon? (1)

Divide By Zero (70303) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016773)

Hope they've got better protective uniforms than a track suit.

"I'm goin', I'm goin'!"

I thought... (1)

Monkey_Genius (669908) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016521)

That the UK government had a ban on manned spaceflight. Does this only apply to UK government funded projects or to private ventures as well? Anyone?

Re:I thought... (2, Informative)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016863)

Its only government money that goes to ESA. That has to be used for robotic/satellite missions. Boring sods that they are! If the private sector puts up the cash (Richard Branson for one) then anyone can have a go at manned flight.
But, being British, we're happier working in sheds and old WWII hangers with bits of old bathtub and wire. If our government tried to run a manned space program today, it would be the biggest waste of space, time and money in all human history.

Good and Bad (1)

D.McGuiggin (1317705) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016607)

First let me say I'm always excited to see progress in the effort to more easily put humans in space. With that being said, am I the only one who sees a bit of a correlation between early exploration of the earth and the current climate regarding space exploration?

It's currently so expensive to get into space (real space guys, not sub-orbital space) that it's almost exclusively a government endeavor. I know we're striving to change that, but that seems to be the case as of the present.

Which then brings up the thought, are we really over our colonial ambitions, and all the behaviors that go along with them? And will the colonization of space simply be a rehashing of the unpleasantness that has passed before, or will we be able to rise above petty human weakness?

Sadly, I can't say I'm optimistic.

We are shamefully lagging (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#24016695)

As nice as this is to see, it is shocking how far behind we are. I'm at Leicester University, and the pinnacle of British commercial rocket techology (A Skylark, a small payload sounding rocket) sits in the middle of our foyer. Meanwhile, the French with a similar sized population and a similar sized economy (and coming from a similar state of total-fucked-upness after the war) have a commercially successful 20t launcher flying regularly.

Tory fanboys perpetually bleat that what Thatcher did to our heavy industry was a necessary evil - but it wasn't necessary for the frogs and they were in as bad a state as we were in the 1970s. We voluntarily gave up our capacity to engage in any project on a larger scale than a new shopping mall.

Re:We are shamefully lagging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017025)

Unfortunately it's because of publicity grabbing toothpaste factory 'scientists' called Steve Bennett and their unimaginative ideas for space travel that Rocketry in the UK has fallen so flat. People such as he give the real unheard and unsung rocketry community in the UK a bad name and make the government enforce hurrendously strict laws which restrict the healthy development of rocketry in this country.

Re:We are shamefully lagging (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022229)

I give this troll 2/10, 1 point for "toothpaste factory" and 1 point for implying that one guy causes a huge regulatory burden for the entire UK rocketry industry.

Re:We are shamefully lagging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24021897)

The British rocket programme was years ahead of the French in the late-60s and early-70s. Black Arrow was a relatively cheap and successful programme for its time, but it was cancelled by a short-sighted government long before Thatcher came onto the scame.

As for Ariane, whilst being French conceived, it was largely ESA funded wasn't it? Not to mentioning taking a further 10 years to develop.

Here he comes again ... (2, Informative)

rjbrash (1033294) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017043)

This is the same guy who ran Starchaser Industries, claimed all sorts of records and pissed off a lot of amateur rocket people in Britain. He crops up every couple of years with another "NEW AND EXCITING DEVELOPMENT IN ROCKETRY". Never produced anything.

Re:Here he comes again ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24017283)

Funnily enough Steve Bennett isn't just all hot air, having been one of his students and had lectures from him - he certainly knows what he is on about. The last time Starchaser was in the news was the unveiling of their newest engine, this engine is now driving the Nova 2. Therefore things have progressed - its not just as simple as putting a new engine in the bottom of the old rocket....

Re:Here he comes again ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24018541)

If he knew what he was talking about he would not be working in the UK, he would be at Lockheed or some other similar firm delivering actual systems not day-dreaming.

Re:Here he comes again ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24021847)

> Funnily enough Steve Bennett isn't just all
> hot air, having been one of his students and
> had lectures from him - he certainly knows
> what he is on about.

Didn't learn much then did you?

Anyone who knows about rocketry knows how Steve Bennett is more PT Barnum than anything else. His knowledge is virtually non existent.

I have also met former students of his, who when they meet the rest of the UK rocketry community inevitably end up very angry at how much they have been conned.

Posted anonymously because I don't want to join the large number of UK rocketry people who have been threatened with legal action by Steve Bennett for telling the truth, namely that what he is doing is a big con.

Go to some of the rocketry events or space conferences and ask people what they think of Steve Bennett, and why they think it. Go on, I dare you...

Re:Here he comes again ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24021975)

Absolutely, and each time, he ends up launching on a cluster of High power model rocketry solid motors, and claims he's going into space very shortly now.

The UK rocketry community were far more impressed with the guys who launched the Reliant Robin Space Shuttle for Top Gear than anything Bennett's ever done. At least they were honest about what they were doing.

The reason he's pissed so many off in the UK amateur rocketry community is firstly because his claims are so far removed from reality it is not hard to see what he is saying is misleading, and secondly because of the amount of legal threats he has made to people to scare them into not telling the truth about what he really is.

Gossip on slashdot? (1)

quick2think (833211) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017281)

Oh, not the real British Rocketman, Elton John. Very misleading title.

Sorry, but... (1)

Illbay (700081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017631)

...1999 was nine years in the past now, and I don't see any sign of British dominance of cislunar space.


H*ll, that rocket would take another 999 YEARS to haul enough nuclear waste out to the far side of the moon [wikipedia.org] !

"Get me rewrite!"

Malfunction! (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 6 years ago | (#24017811)

> so that travellers can be safely landed even in the unlikely event of a major rocket malfunction.

Well the obvious malfunction that comes to my mind requires the ejection system to be able to eject passengers faster than the shockwave of an exploding fireball. Out of curiosity - how many astronauts have been saved by the ejection systems on their vehicles?

This will never happen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24018005)

Unfortunately the UK government see no economic value in an independent space program. All projects since the 1960's are now either killed at birth, dumped shortly thereafter, or gradually strangled in early-life through lack of proper funding. Ever heard of any of the following embarrassments?

HOTOL [wikipedia.org]
Beagle 2 [wikipedia.org]

If you want to do any serious space research or engineering first move to a somewhere that sees value in it US, or even China?!

Re:This will never happen. (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#24019777)

I know someone who was peripherally involved with HOTOL, and he believes it was canceled in order to help maintain the monopoly on space launches enjoyed by certain US corporations. Wouldn't it be nice to live in a sovereign nation?

No, it wasn't (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#24021399)

They just totally underestimated how difficult it is to design a workable scramjet system. The US would love to have a Mach 15 air breathing missile but have not achieved it yet. There is this annoying thing of what to do with the turbojet and the ramjet you need just to get to the point that the scramjet starts to operate, but which then have to be got out of the way to stop them melting and remove the drag. Then there is the difficulty that the geometry needs to change continuously as the airspeed increases. Then the other little difficulty that a fuel failure does not cause loss of ignition, it causes the engine to melt. The latest on scramjets is that the solution to reasonable efficiency is to run them on hydrogen, which is wonderfully probable for human carrying vehcles given the potential insurance costs (even if the passengers waive their rights, the people underneath the flight path don't.)

The sad fact is that in the UK we get into projects that are too difficult, under-fund and mismanage them while wasting money in corruption aka unexpected expenses, and then whine when they prove completely impracticable. This happened with the British ICBM project, it will happen with the Olympics. It will probably happen if we replace Trident, though at least our all-British submarine is likely to be built by the French with American missiles.

Paradoxically it took Richard Noble and Andy Green to go supersonic on land while everybody rubbished them, including British Aerospace (aka BAe, aka Saudi Graft Inc.) who missed out on some rare good publicity by refusing to help them. But that was because, in fact, they stuck with tested and proven conventional technology.

yuo fa-il It (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24018913)

Britains Apollo Program (3, Funny)

bugeaterr (836984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24019115)


A little known, slightly less ambitious project (more reasonable, really),
whose announcement was plagiarized by John F. Kennedy:

It is our goal... goal... goal... (echo)

Before the decade is out... out... out...

To send a carrier pigeon to West Staines and return him safely to Slough.

Re:Britains Apollo Program (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#24022719)

Come friendly bombs and drop on Slough!

Steve Bennett... (2, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#24019757)

Having read more about this man and his previous 'efforts' to break altitude records that had already been broken and to showcase part of a cement mixer as a space capsule... I feel that Wallace and Gromit are a more serious prospect for commercial space flight in this country.

Cost Effectiveness (1)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 6 years ago | (#24020655)

"...20 minutes 'flight' and 3-4 mins floating..."

A similar experience can be had on the Vomit Comet, probably for substantially less and for a longer total duration. Although with the cost of aircraft fuel quickly approaching the cost of rocket fuel, I may be mistaken.

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