If he was feeling ruff after falling 25 kilometres during a balloon flight into the outer reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere, then just imagine how much Sam the space dog, mascot of English Lakes Hotels Resorts and Venues is looking forward to being fired skyward in a rocket.
Sam hit the news headlines when he disappeared during a balloon flight into space orchestrated by schoolchildren last year (see video below).
This year, he is heading up and away once again, strapped to 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,” explained 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.”
Steve Bennett from Starchaser Industries said: “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.”