[S]am the space dog is returning to the skies this autumn to help primary school children with another science project, this time as a passenger aboard a rocket.
The mascot of English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues caused a global internet news sensation last year when he disappeared during a balloon flight at an altitude of over 25 kilometres above the earth.
Now he is to be launched skyward once again, strapped into the eight metre tall Skybolt 2 research rocket for its inaugural flight courtesy of Manchester based Starchaser Industries, which specialises in space related projects.
The purpose of the flight, sponsored by the University of Chester, is to test onboard electronics and demonstrate a bespoke parachute recovery system to be used aboard Starchaser’s future people carrying rocket. It also aims to encourage young people to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects in higher education.
The children of Morecambe Bay Community Primary School and the Midland Hotel were invited to get involved in the project, with Sam the Dog offered a VIP status boarding pass. The flight will take place from a testing site in the North East in mid-September, weather permitting.
“We were thrilled that Starchaser Industries wanted to give the school children and Sam another taste of space science,” explains Ben Berry from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues. “We are keeping our fingers crossed that Sam will be safely returned this time as he will fall to earth gently by parachute with the rocket intact.”
The 8.3 metre tall remote control rocket weighs approximately 250kg and is constructed mainly from carbon fibre, other composites and aerospace grade aluminium. It will be powered by a cluster of five solid propellant motors.
Steve Bennett from Starchaser Industries says: “The duration of Sam’s flight will be just under four minutes, but our rocket motors will provide enough thrust to accelerate him to the maximum permitted altitude of 4,000 feet in less than 20 seconds
“This is another important milestone in our bid to making space tourism a reality for everyone and it also supports Starchaser’s educational outreach programme which takes the excitement of rocket science in to hundreds of schools every year.”
Siobhan Collingwood from Morecambe Bay Community Primary School added: “When Starchaser Industries approached us to see if the children would be interested in putting Sam into a rocket, we jumped at the chance. It’s another exciting and inspiring project for them to be involved in, bringing science to life with a real life experimental rocket launch.”