Technical glitch grounds homemade Danish rocket

September 5, 2010
The Danish-built, homemade rocket Tycho Brahe leaves Copenhagen Harbour towards the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea on August 31 for a test launch, escorted by a submarine also built by Copenhagen Suborbital. The first launch attempt of the rocket built by two Danes failed on Sunday because of a technical glitch, according to Danish media.

The first launch attempt of a homemade rocket built by two Danes failed on Sunday because of a technical glitch, according to Danish media.

Live footage of the launch off the Baltic island of Bornholm appeared to show brown smoke coming out of the after the countdown.

Experts interviewed by TV2 News said the likely cause was a failure of the ignition system.

After an inspection, the builders of the rocket decided against a second launch and did not set a date for a new attempt.

Peter Madsen and Kristian von Bengtsson have toiled for over two years to build the nine-metre (30 feet), 1.6-tonne prototype, which is named after the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.

They intend "to show that with little financial means anyone can send a rocket into space, which is a privilege not just reserved for rich countries," said Madsen before the , which was delayed several times because of .

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The prototype, which contained a doll, cost a total of 50,000 euros (63,400 dollars) and was financed mostly by 2,000 individual sponsors and 20 companies.

It had been hoped that the rocket would reach an altitude of between 10 and 30 kilometres (six to 19 miles).

The duo hope to send a person into space within three or four years, which would make Denmark only the fourth nation to do so.

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