Please select your home edition
Wessex Resins 2019 - Pro-Set - 728x90

WEST SYSTEM® epoxy set to go sub-orbital

by Jake Young 1 Jun 2020 12:41 BST

A NOVA 2 rocket being developed by Starchaser is within ten months of its first launch. This one-seater rocket is a significant step towards future plans which include a rocket capable of taking two passengers with the pilot.

This uniquely British project is being built in Hyde, Cheshire with WEST SYSTEM epoxy and glass fibre as the main components for the capsule.

NOVA 2 is one of a series of rockets being developed by Starchaser. The design for the volunteer-built rocket has been thoroughly examined by the European Space Agency following the award of an ESA Study Contract.

"Upon completion of the contract they gave our plans a hearty thumbs-up," says Steve Bennett (Starchaser MD). "Everything NASA does is in the public domain, so if we want to see how they solved a particular engineering problem, it's easy to look up. We've got two dozen part time volunteers working on the build as a labour of love, they're a fantastic team."

A NOVA 2 test flight is planned with a crash test dummy, for the early part of 2021 from a site in northern England (Covid-19 permitting). Manned flights will ultimately take place from a purpose-built Spaceport in New Mexico.

"I've always been interested in space and building rockets," says Steve who gave up his day job 22 years ago to start the company.

"Over the years the designs have got bigger and better and more sophisticated."

His supporters agree. He's been able to finance the build with £2m garnered from selling 20% of the company, and seat sales which have already taken place on Thunderstar (a project planned for the future). Wessex Resins and Adhesives has been sponsoring Steve for 20 years, with a supply of WEST SYSTEM epoxy which the company manufactures under licence from Gougeon Brothers Inc.

"WEST SYSTEM epoxy is really good stuff," Steve says. "There's nothing better available for making components. The whole capsule is made out of epoxy and glass fibre. The leading edges of the fins are made from epoxy, together with most of the internal structure. We're currently using WEST SYSTEM epoxy to modify the brackets for the parachute system. There's probably about 100 litres of WEST SYSTEM epoxy in the capsule."

"We're delighted to be able to sponsor NOVA 2," says Ian Oliver. "WEST SYSTEM epoxy has been in production for over fifty years and we're celebrating that by looking at all the projects which are made using the fantastic array of products. This is the longest sponsorship we've undertaken and it's testament to Steve's ambition and direction that he's so close to launching. We're proud to be able to supply WEST SYSTEM epoxy to take people into space. It's not what it was designed for, but given its innate strength and durability, we are delighted that it's passed muster and is being used in this ingenious manner."

Steve also receives additional revenue from his work with schools, making educational visits with previous iterations of his design. Find out more at

Interested parties can enter a free contest to win a rocket ride in the future, when as the project continues, the capsule will be developed to take two passengers and a pilot ( The cost of a flight to see the curvature of the earth and experience weightlessness is £250,000. Seats are already sold and Starchaser currently has 500 people on the waiting list.

Related Articles

Boat building for an extraordinary challenge
Preparing to row the Atlantic, with a dose of West System epoxy resin To be the first crew to row non-stop from mainland Europe to mainland South America in a pure class boat, the team at WEST SYSTEM® provided the M2M Atlantic Four with the materials needed to fix a new rudder and daggerboard. Posted on 11 Jun
Exploring projects at Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Epoxy resin aids repair and renovation of sail yachts and motor boats In the lead up to the summer season, the boatyard services team at Suffolk Yacht Harbour is working around the clock on maintenance and repair jobs, ensuring the incredible boats that come through their doors are ready to go back on the water. Posted on 3 Jun
Class Xero combines coffee and epoxy
A bio-sustainable Mini Transat design Craig Palmer, based in Worthing, is looking at opportunities to bring the marine industry together in a collaborative way. In the middle of building a sustainable ocean-going yacht Class Xero he's using PRO-SET® epoxy. Posted on 19 Oct 2020
Stunning Colour Tints for Epoxy Creations
New additions to the bio-based Entropy Resins range An exciting line of liquid colours has been released to add bold and beautiful tints to epoxy. The tints are part of the bio-based Entropy Resins® product range and can be added to epoxy creations (after the resin and hardener is mixed). Posted on 21 Sep 2020
Industry approval for epoxy resins
PRO-SET epoxies and WEST SYSTEM resin/hardener certified The following PRO-SET epoxy systems have been approved by DNV GL for use on ships, yachts and as 'laminating resin for construction of laminates made of fibre reinforced plastics'. Posted on 17 Sep 2020
Life After Pi
Charity teaches students to use epoxy resin on lifeboat used in documentary Oarsome Chance, the Gosport-based charity, has been using WEST SYSTEM epoxy to aid in a classic engine refit. Posted on 21 Aug 2020
Stunning colour tints for epoxy creations released
An exciting line of liquid colours has been released to add bold and beautiful tints to epoxy Specifically designed for epoxy river tables, jewellery and other crafts as well as sporting equipment like surf, skate and snowboards, the beautiful selection of colours come in two thematic packs, Soft and Vivid. Posted on 1 Aug 2020
DNV GL approval for Pro-Set epoxies
Lloyd's Register approval for WS resin and hardener combination PRO-SET epoxy systems have been approved by DNV GL for use on ships, yachts and as 'laminating resin for construction of laminates made of fibre reinforced plastics'. Posted on 14 Jul 2020
Building a wooden dinghy with epoxy resin part 3
Completing the hull and making an amazing spinnaker chute Steve Goodchild wanted to avoid nailing the planks to offset chocks set against the frames, as this would leave multiple rows of nail holes visible in the wood. Instead, he decided to glue the entire hull together using thickened epoxy. Posted on 11 Jun 2020
Chandleries currently open stocking epoxy resin
Places to buy West System products during June 2020 in the UK We're all eagerly anticipating the reopening of retail outlets. In the meantime, if you're looking to stock up on your favourite epoxy brands, here are some WEST SYSTEM®, PRO-SET® and Entropy Resins® epoxy stockists who we know are currently open. Posted on 5 Jun 2020