Dot-com rocket dabble "a success"

Nova, the British-built rocket sponsored by Dabs.com, blasted off from Morecambe Bay succesfully on Thursday morning.

LONDON--Forget cyberspace. A dot-com company has set its sights on Outer Space.

The first private, piloted spacecraft built in the UK blasted off from a windswept beach at Morecambe Bay on the North West coast of the UK on Thursday morning. A height of around 5,000 feet was reportedly achieved by the rocket, which is sponsored by online computer retailer Dabs.com.

The unmanned capsule was said to have returned to Earth safely on its parachute. A second parachute, attached to the main section of the rocket, got snagged, according to a spokesperson. "It went fantastically well," she said.

Nova is "the next big step" of Starchaser Industries development programme to be the first non-governmental, privately funded company to put three people into space and win the coveted "Xprize" of US$10 million.

The 11-meter tall Nova rocket is the third prototype created by Starchaser Industries. It is five times bigger and five times more powerful than Starchaser Industries previous rocket, "Discovery." It weighs 747kg (1643lb) and is capable of 0 to 500 miles per hour in under six seconds.

Nova now plans to conduct a piloted test next year.

Dabs.com is supplying equipment to the project, including PCs, motherboards and other components.

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