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Blackburn Enthusing pupils is rocket science

Pupils at a Blackburn school were given a close-up look at what could be achieved if they became scientists when a 700kg rocket dropped into their school.

Darwen Vale High was the first of 100 schools around the country to be visited this spring term by the Nova Starchaser rocket as part of a drive to encourage youngsters' interest in science.

Years 7 and 8 pupils fired questions at Steve Bennett, the rocket's engineer and maker, and took part in workshops in cosmic chemistry and propulsion.

The company behind the Starchaser rocket, which was first launched from Morecambe Bay in 2001, says it is the world's first private reusable rocket. It is currently developing a programme to enable tourists to experience space travel.

Starchaser, which runs its own education programme, Space4Schools, says that people must become "interested in science once again" if British astronauts are to succeed in the space race.

"Space tourism will be big business in the 21st century," said Mr Bennett, "so we thought it would be interesting to show it in schools." rv

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