Rocket man set for record bid

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An amateur space enthusiast known as the "rocket man" will attempt to break a world altitude record later this week with his home-made rocket.

Steve Bennett, from Dukinfield in Manchester, hopes his 22-ft rocket will travel further into the Earth's atmosphere than any other amateur rocket. He will launch it on Friday from an army testing range in Northumberland, where he lost part of the rocket earlier this year.

The record is held by an American, but Mr Bennett, 33, is sure he will beat it.

"I hope the rocket will travel about 15 miles, or 79,000ft into the atmosphere, which will beat the record of 75,000ft.

"It is an ambitious project, but my next aim is to put a rocket into space, which will need a bigger engine to launch it about 60 miles into the atmosphere.

"We lost part of the rocket when we tested it, but that didn't matter, we just rebuilt it better than ever."

The rocket has cost more than pounds 50,000, funded mainly through sponsorship, and it has taken years of dedication to build.