/>
X

'Open-source,' privately-funded rocket lifts off

Adventurers take a big step in their dream to launch a human into space without government assistance or interference.
|
zd-defaultauthor-andy7718.jpg
|
6243483.jpg
1 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Copenhagen Suborbitals is a self-described Danish open-source, privately-funded, non-profit organization with a mission to launch humans into space. On Friday in a major test, it successfully launched a rocket and prototype spacecraft from a platform in the Baltic Sea to about 1.7 miles (2.8 kilometers) above the Earth.

The Heat-1X rocket - pictured above prior to launch with engineer and co-founder Peter Madsen inspecting the main oxidizer valve - is the second launch attempt by the team. A liquid oxygen valve failure stymied the previous attempt, made in September. The valve failed because of a power cut to a 100 Krone ($19.70) hairdryer being used to keep it hot.

The rocket held a crash dummy inside a dummy of the Tycho Brahe spacecraft, which is designed to carry one person on a sub-orbital trip into space. The craft is named after a 16th-century Danish nobleman who came up with remarkably accurate astronomical observations for his time.

According to legend, Brahe was also notable for keeping a clairvoyant dwarf named Jepp as a jester, and having an elk that died after falling down the stairs drunk. The nobleman also wore a fake nose made of gold and silver after losing his real nose in a duel.

Copenhagen Suborbitals says it intends to share as much technical information as is possible within EU export control laws. According to the New Scientist, the firm built the rocket for around $70,000.

Captions: David Meyer, ZDUK and Andy Smith ZDNet U.S.

Photo credit: Sonny Windstrup

6243500.jpg
2 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Here's the Heat -1X rocket with the orange test capsule called Tycho Brahe sitting on top at the launch pad located in the Baltic Sea. It was 31-feet tall and weighed more than 4,400 pounds.

6243485.jpg
3 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Above, radio specialist Thomas Scherrer adjusts the telemetry antenna array.

The array provided two-way data links with the spacecraft, including continuous video.

Photo credit: Sonny Windstrup

6243498.jpg
4 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

The Tycho Brahe spacecraft originated from these sketches. The actual spacecraft is 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) long and weighs 661 pounds.

6243492.jpg
5 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Here's a more detailed diagram of the space capsule.

6243489.jpg
6 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

The Tycho Brahe test craft sits atop the rocket while a technician makes last-minute adjustments. This test capsule is a little smaller than the planned final version.

6243484.jpg
7 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Engineers Kristian von Bengtson (left) and Peter Madsen are the founders of Copenhagen Suborbitals.

When the real Tycho Brahe spacecraft becomes operational, Madsen will be the first to fly it, while von Bengtson will wait until the first proper low-Earth orbit (LEO) flight.

Photo credit: Bo Tornvig

6243486.jpg
8 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

The countdown reaches "0" and the rocket begins to lift off.

Photo credit: Bo Tornvig

6243494.jpg
9 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

The rocket leave a wake of steam and water.

Photo credit: Bo Tornvig

6243488.jpg
10 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

The Heat-1X rocket, shown here in flight, was actually supposed to reach a height of 16km (10 miles) but the flight was cut short when the rocket began to veer to one side. No reason was known.

Photo credit: Thomas Pedersen

6243490.jpg
11 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

The test capsule parachutes back to the Baltic Sea where it is rescued.

Photo credit: Bo Tornvig

6243491.jpg
12 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

The test capsule did receive some heavy damage but was intact.

Photo credit: Bo Tornvig

6243499.jpg
13 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Here's a look at some more damage to the capsule.

Photo credit: Bo Tornvig

6243496.jpg
14 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

But most importantly the crash-dummy passenger survived the ordeal. Let's hope it was not damaged psychologically.

Photo credit: Bo Tornvig

6243495.jpg
15 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Here's the mission statement of Copenhagen Suborbitals.

Related Galleries

Linux turns 30: The biggest events in its history so far
05-debian.jpg

Related Galleries

Linux turns 30: The biggest events in its history so far

31 Photos
Linux gaming made easy: The fastest way to get up and running
cover.png

Related Galleries

Linux gaming made easy: The fastest way to get up and running

24 Photos
Linux that fits anywhere: 15 very small footprint distros
small-footprint-linux.jpg

Related Galleries

Linux that fits anywhere: 15 very small footprint distros

16 Photos
10 super sweet laptops that come with Linux pre-installed
dell-xps-13.jpg

Related Galleries

10 super sweet laptops that come with Linux pre-installed

10 Photos
WordPress 5.0 is out. Here's a tour of the new features!
01-wordpress-5.jpg

Related Galleries

WordPress 5.0 is out. Here's a tour of the new features!

9 Photos
Create your own free Adobe Creative Cloud with free and open source software
cover.jpg

Related Galleries

Create your own free Adobe Creative Cloud with free and open source software

12 Photos
Photos: Cold War ZX Spectrum clones spawned behind the Iron Curtain
2jet.jpg

Related Galleries

Photos: Cold War ZX Spectrum clones spawned behind the Iron Curtain

10 Photos