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Rocket lands at North museum; SPACECRAFT TOUCHES DOWN FOR WEEKEND.

Byline: Barbara Hodgson Reporter barbara.hodgson@reachplc.com

THERE was a surprise in store for unsuspecting passers-by yesterday morning when Britain's biggest rocket touched down in Newcastle.

The Starchaser Skybolt research rocket - over 8m (27ft) tall - made its arrival in the city not from the skies but by truck, for what will be just a "flying" visit to the region.

The timely appearance marked the anniversary of man's first steps on the moon, as well as something of a return for the rocket as the research programme's Skybolt 2 underwent testing here in 2017.

For those not stopped in their tracks by the sight of a real-life space rocket being transferred from the back of a truck to the front lawn of Great North Museum: Hancock where it is now on show, they have until the end of today to see it.

Families are expected to snap up the unique opportunity to see the Skybolt, which was developed by Cheshire's Starchaser Industries as a reusable research rocket and successfully launched at Otterburn on September 11, 2017, carrying commercial cargo and Sam, a stuffed toy dog.

It now tours the UK as part of Starchaser's education programme and arrived accompanied by Fraser Roe of Starchaser Industries.

Steve Bennet, the managing director of Starchaser, said: "There are millions of people who'd like to take a trip to outer space and the successful flight of Skybolt last September took us another step closer to making that dream a reality."

The rocket's visit is made extra special as it coincides with the 49-year anniversary of astronaut Neil Armstrong's lunar landing and that giant leap he took on July 21, 1969 during the Apollo 11 mission.

The Skybolt is the latest high-profile exhibit to the venue which, as part of Great Exhibition of the North, is currently hosting the likes of a Damien Hirst shark and - another out-of-this-world showpiece - the spacesuit worn in 1991 by Helen Sharman, Britain's first astronaut and the first woman to visit the Mir space station.

The Great Exhibition of the North display, called Which Way North, can be seen from 10am until 6pm. Entry to the museum is free.

CAPTION(S):

| Skybolt, an eight-metre-tall space rocket, arrives on the front lawn of the Hancock Museum with Fraser Roe from Starchaser Industries

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Publication:Sunday Sun (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 22, 2018
Words:381
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