Homemade Danish rocket takes off

June 3, 2011
Danish amateur rocket, Heat-1X Tycho Brahe, a MSC (micro spacecraft), launches in the Baltic Sea east of Bornholm, carrying a doll of human size. The goal for the Danish amateur rocket builders was to send the rocket 15 to 16 Km up in the air, but it reached only 2,8 km and flew a total of 8.5 km.

A home-made rocket built by two Danes successfully blasted off from a floating launch pad off the Danish Baltic island of Bornholm Friday, nine months after its first test flight failed due to a defective hair drier.

"It was like seeing a missile and it came over us a couple of kilometres up. We are ecstatic and will be going home with everything we have learned," one of the Danish inventors behind the project, Peter Madsen, told public broadcaster TV2 News.

The nine-metre (30-foot), 1.6-tonne rocket and its small capsule have taken space enthusiast Madsen, former NASA employee Kristian von Bengtsson and an army of volunteers some three years to test and build.

Last September, their first launch attempt failed when a hair drier designed to keep a valve from freezing failed.

There had been fears that Friday’s attempt would also go wrong when the unmanned rocket’s automatic start sequence did not initiate, but after a new countdown began, all systems were go and at precisely 4:32 pm (1432 GMT), the rocket roared into the sky.

"It is a success the we got the rocket off the ground, and I believe that we have written a bit of history," von Bengtsson told TV2 after the successful launch.

It is not yet clear how far the rocket rose into the air and whether it reached the altitude of between 14 and 16 kilometres (8.9-9.9 miles) hoped for by the Copenhagen Suborbitals group.

Prior to last year’s failed blast-off attempt, Madsen said the group hoped to show that "with little financial means anyone can send a rocket into space, which is a privilege not just reserved for rich countries."

Last year the group, which is financed by around 20 companies and 2,000 individuals, said they had spent a total of 50,000 euros ($73,000) on the prototype.

It was not immediately clear how much more had been pumped in to get the rocket in shape for launching.

Madsen said after the failed September 2010 attempt that after three to four problem-free flights he aims to be a passenger in the rocket's tiny capsule, which would make him the first Dane in space.

Explore further: Technical glitch grounds homemade Danish rocket

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5 / 5 (5) Jun 03, 2011
Next time put the valve inside a toaster. It doesn't have so many moving parts.
5 / 5 (5) Jun 03, 2011
I realize this a low STN post, but I just can't resist...


Projects like this have been a lifelong pipe dream for me, but this crew is making it real.

I like Eikka suggestion; I was thinking of an enclosed ceramic radiant heater, basically the same idea.
4.3 / 5 (11) Jun 03, 2011
Why not put a politician into the capsule and just have him TALK to the valve? It's almost the same thing as manned space flight, and that way you come out ahead even if the rocket crashes.
5 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2011
It's almost the same thing as manned space flight,

Are viruses actually alive, let alone human?!
5 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2011
If you're interested:

Congratulations! I'm surprised there is no altitude reported anywhere. I'd like to know how close it got to LEO.
not rated yet Jun 03, 2011
They estimate 2.8 km - a little less than 2 miles. Not very high, but height wasn't really the point of todays exercise.
They only wanted to check mission control procedures, launch platform and various other systems.
And, I guess, how cool it would be to launch your very own missile ;)
I think they'll be aiming a little higher next time, but they themselves have stated that it will most likely be a 10 year project to get to the stage of actually getting a person above 100 km.
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 03, 2011
If you're interested:

Congratulations! I'm surprised there is no altitude reported anywhere. I'd like to know how close it got to LEO.

It is isn't even trying to get to Low Earth Orbit. It's mission is to achieve SUB-ORBITAL FLIGHT. ie, pop up into space, feel micro gravity for a moment at the top of the parabola, then back to Earth you accelerate.

I wish ppl would know the difference between sub-orbital and orbital flight!!!! Orbital flight is much harder as you need heat shields to re-enter due to the velocity required to keep the vehicle in orbit, but you don't need these things for sub-orbital, as the flight velocities are VERY much lower!!
2 / 5 (8) Jun 03, 2011
If you want to talk to these guys one of them has a topic in the somethingawful.com forum GBS. They are very nice people.
not rated yet Jun 04, 2011
@ober - I didn't read the words sub-orbital anywhere in the article, yet your rant was based on this false assumption.

Scratch that, name of the company includes sub orbital, however the goals of a company long term can drastically change with progress :)
1 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2011
I am hoping that we can by-pass rockets and the entire reaction engine thing once we understand Dark Energy. I understand it to be an anti-gravity effect. Admittedly it is weak but we might be able to increase the effect.
not rated yet Jun 04, 2011

Thanks for the video link. Looks like a major problem occurred with the parachute(s) deployment (it never fully unfurled). I'm sure the future unmanned test flights mentioned in the article and static drops of the crew capsule will focus on this problem.

Aside from the chute snafu, an impressive debut of the Heat-1X Tycho Brahe.
not rated yet Jun 04, 2011

I like Eikka suggestion; I was thinking of an enclosed ceramic radiant heater, basically the same idea.

I intended it as part sarcasm.

Thinking outside of the box is fine, but that kind of "lateral thinking" just spells doom for the project. I mean, if they knew what they were doing, they would have walked into a plumbing & heating store and bought some underfloor heating wire designed for the purpose of keeping stuff warm, and wrapped that around the valve.

Or hell, even a couple 25W power resistors attached with pipe clamps would probably have done the trick.
5 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2011
Point being that a hairdryer is basically a 500 Watt space heater, indirectly heating the valve, while the actual heating power needed to keep the valve from freezing shut would likely be on the order of 50 Watts if you could just deliver it to the right spot.
1 / 5 (1) Jun 05, 2011
Or hell, even a couple 25W power resistors attached with pipe clamps would probably have done the trick.
I'm sure it was an extremely high-quality hairdryer, and brand new.

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