A Kingston University aerospace engineering student has taken her career to new heights as part of the team that smashed the British amateur rocketry altitude record. Sally Davis, who belongs to the Mars Advanced Rocketry Society (MARS) in her spare time, headed to Nevada in September to take part in the launch of the 23 foot Deimos Odyssey rocket.
Using environmentally-friendly hybrid fuel, the spacecraft reached a speed of almost 1,000 miles an hour and soared 25,000 feet. The crew set five new British records along the way, laying claim to the titles for the largest hybrid rocket ever launched, the most powerful hybrid rocket, amateur engine altitude, hybrid engine altitude and the first hybrid rocket to be recovered from more than 25,000 feet. The rocket, developed in Britain, was equipped with computers logging its progress as well as two advanced video systems that sent live images back to the MARS ground crew.
Sally, 21, can hardly wait to join the team again next year when it attempts to shatter the European rocketry altitude record of 35,000 feet. “Being part of such a huge project has been a fantastic experience,” she said. "The video footage shows images of the side of the rocket with the full force of the flames and smoke – it’s absolutely breathtaking.”
Presently on a year’s work placement with space specialists Astrium, Sally will return to university next year to complete her degree. “I can’t wait to tell my course mates all about my experiences when I get back to Kingston – maybe by then we’ll hold the world record too,” she said. Lecturer Chris Welch, an expert in astronautics, praised Sally’s enthusiasm for the subject. “It is very exciting to see Sally put the theory she has gained on the Kingston course into practice,” he said.