August 24, 2010
However the Copenhagen Suborbitals project turns out, you have to give these people points for nerve. The eventual plan is to launch a human to an altitude of 100 kilometers inside a capsule barely large enough to fit one person, standing up. For the moment, the Danish team would be happy just to launch a test dummy to that altitude, from a barge in the Baltic Sea. The launch window for the HEAT-1X rocket opens in six days.
It’s always difficult to know whether to take these kinds of efforts seriously. Some X-Prize contenders, past and future, clearly have had little chance of succeeding. But this group at least seems to be having fun. (I like the portrait of Soviet rocket pioneer Sergei Korolev in the control room in the video below. Can’t make out the other guy—Tsiolkovsky maybe?)
With their tiny budget of 50,000 Euros, a lot of it from donations, this volunteer army doesn’t mind poking fun at the big guys. Co-founder Kristian von Bengtson told The Independent: “”I think our entire budget would barely cover the cost of the key hole [sic] on the shuttle. We want to show people that space doesn’t need to be the exclusive domain of big money investments where everything is made out of titanium in clean rooms by people wearing white slippers.”
Better to dress like school crossing guards, apparently: