On Monday 13 November UK launcher developer Starchaser is to fire its 15,393lb (68.5kN) thrust Storm engine at RAF Spadeadam in northern England.

The 15s firing is to test the integrity of the engine and is the culmination of a development programme that started in 2000. Storm would power the company’s Skybolt sounding rocket. It is designed to loft 20kg (44lb) payloads to 440,986ft (134,412m).
Spadeadam has test stand infrastructure unused for almost forty years. The RAF base was the test location for the UK’s abandoned 1960s intermediate range ballistic missile Blue Streak programme.

“You would need to fire [Storm] for 70-80s to reach space,” says Starchaser founder and chief executive Steve Bennett.
He added that the firing is only for 15s because of the size of the company’s propellant tanks and that his team intends to build larger tanks for longer tests.

Entirely developed internally by Starchaser the liquid oxygen, kerosene Storm engine is pressure fed with a 20,680bar (299,000lb/in2) chamber pressure delivering 68.5kN of thrust. Its propellants are mixed in the ratio of 2.25:1 with a flow rate of 30.4kg/s (67lb/s), using helium at 310bar. Storm is also designed to be reusable.

Starchaser’s engineers conducted water tests in October with six different tests at different pressures to check the engine.
The company also has an office in New Mexico. It is one of the first companies to base itself at the site of that state’s planned spaceport, Spaceport America.

Blog: Read about Rob Coppinger’s sort of crash landing in the Roswell triangle of New Mexico

Source: FlightGlobal.com