Britain successfully sent its largest rocket into the atmosphere for the first time since 1971 today (Mon) - but the flight only lasted 30 seconds. The 27ft 'reusable' Skybolt 2 research rocket was launched from the back of a converted flat-bed truck in Northumberland watched by a 50-strong crowd. The rocket carried a payload including video cameras and a cuddly toy from a primary school as it reached its maximum height of 4,000 feet. The unmanned launch was made by high tech firm Starchaser as part of its mission to eventually send travellers to the edge of space at 333,000 feet. Today's launch was to test vital electronic systems and a parachute recovery system to ensure the rocket returned safely to earth.