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Space Science Build

Non-Profit Space Rocket Launching In a Week 127

Plammox writes "A non-profit suborbital space endeavor lead by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen is trying to put a man in space. The first test of the boosters and space craft in combination with the sea launch platform will take place this week. The catch? All of this is a non-profit project based on voluntary labor and sponsors. How will they get the launch platform out in the middle of the Baltic sea to perform the test? With the founder's home-built submarine pushing it, of course."
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Non-Profit Space Rocket Launching In a Week

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  • I love these guys (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Monday August 23, 2010 @04:11AM (#33338178) Homepage Journal

    Check out the spacecraft: []

    Sven the crash test dummy is in for a wild ride!

    The pace at which they've managed to do this work is phenomenal.

  • I caught this story on Fark, and they linked to a really good thread over on the Something Awful forums with posts directly from these people.
    We've made the world's amateur largest space rocket []

    If you don't want to read all 17 pages, just skim through looking for posts by user frumpykvetchbot.

    This is completely awesome, and I wish them the best of luck with the test launch this weekend. :D

  • More info (Score:4, Informative)

    by UniqueElectron ( 1807422 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @07:05AM (#33338904)

    More pics from saturday here: []

    They have been running a blog since the beginning on (in danish only, unfortunately). Openness is key to the project, that's how they attract the donations that make up all funding.

    The astronaut sitting upright is a key part of the design. The spaceship is 60cm in diameter. If he lies down the spaceship needs to be much wider, around 2 metres, and then require a much larger booster rocket.

    They aim at a constant acceleration of 4G, which is not very much for a rocket, but this is to make it liveable in the upright position.

    Another key part of the design is that it is a hybrid rocket, which has high power, is controllable, and is almost without dangers compared to traditional liquid and solid fuel rockets.

    The fuel is actually some rubber substance (not entirely unlike tyre rubber), with liquid oxygen being pumped through to make it burn at high temps. Totally harmless substances, except when you ignite them, produces great thrust, and is even variable, so they can just turn it off if something goes wrong.

    Until now they have only been doing static booster tests (all successful). The upcoming launch is the very first flight test. They only aim at going to some 20 km's altitude. The eventual goal is to replace Sven the test dummy with Peter Madsen, and thrust him to above 100 km's - and get him down safely.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23, 2010 @07:19AM (#33338954)

    Or use this link [] to only display posts by that one user.

  • Re:Suborbital (Score:4, Informative)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @08:49AM (#33339556) Homepage Journal

    Say you burn all your fuel to get into orbit. Thats a velocity change of about 8 km/s. To get down under power you would need to change your speed by 8 km/s again, but all the fuel you need for that would have to be carried up in the first place.

    A good launch vehicle has a mass ratio of 1/10, meaning that roughly 90% of the launch mass is going to be fuel. If your fuel mass for landing is the same as the the fuel mass just to get the empty vehicle into orbit, the total mass of the vehicle at launch will increase by a factor of 10.

    Its just impractical. To land on any large planet you need to use aerobraking.

  • Re:Home built (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23, 2010 @10:05AM (#33340450)

    Yeah...homebuilt submarine....

    Checkout the videoes in my channel:

  • Re:ICBM anyone? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning@netzero. n e t> on Monday August 23, 2010 @10:14AM (#33340588) Homepage Journal

    What would be the military implications? For those countries who are striving for missiles already have them (North Korea, Iran, Libya, Somalia, etc.) so there is little point in having a "spy" grab plans for a volunteer effort in Denmark and bring it to one of those countries. What counts is the labor and effort happening there to get this whole thing to work.

    Besides, the flight profile for a weapon is quite a bit different than what you want for manned spaceflight. For a weapon, you want to have maximum acceleration (an ICBM can pull as much as 25-30 "G's") for two huge reasons: once the missile is launched you want it in the air for as little time as possible to act as a surprise to "the enemy", and with a high rate of acceleration the missile as a target for counter-battery fire becomes much harder to hit.

    On the other hand, for a manned vehicle you want to take your sweet time in terms of going up into space and limit the acceleration forces for what I hope are good reasons. Even if you dismiss human cargo, often for spaceflight activities there are other more "delicate" payloads that you need to be careful with as well. Not only that, but the flight profile for orbital flight (the eventual goal here) is also obvious for anybody tracking the rocket, as would any abort profiles after that. For a good reason, most spaceflight tracks attempt to have their paths or potential "targets" to be in very unpopulated areas too... a military weapon doesn't do that. Still, even if you had a completely working rocket that was designed for use as a manned spaceflight vehicle, what makes it so good for a spacecraft that people can use also makes it a lousy weapon that would only be used as a last resort at best.

    If one of these petty dictatorships are really interested in a missile, tell them to buy a Scud... it will be cheaper and do the job better at delivering warheads to the target without getting shot out of the sky first. Please don't use this as an excuse to kill off hobby rocketry and other amateur aerospace projects.

  • by IronDragon ( 74186 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @10:25AM (#33340782) Homepage

    Copenhagen Suborbitals Facebook page []

    Open Space Movement Facebook page []

    For anyone wondering, there's another little project in the works, designed to help support existing organizations such as Copenhagen Suborbitals, as well as individuals interested in manned space exploitation. Aka, the Open Space Movement.

    The gist of this project is something akin to "" for aerospace engineering, although that would be a gross oversimplification. The OSM operates on the principle that public involvement is the key to large-scale manned spaceflight in the near future, and operates as a service and organizational platform to help rally public interest, and direct their efforts towards a series of public space ventures.

    The site is nearing completion, and should be ready for a beta test in the next week or two. When we begin operations, the first thing we have planned is providing a grant towards Copenhagen Suborbitals. We have raised ~1500 out of 5000$ so far []. Having talked with Kristian von Bengstrom, this amount is roughly equivalent to the cost of the propellants used in the HEAT-1X motor. More importantly, providing a 5000$ grant now makes it possible to provide a 50,000$ grant in the future - since the primary incentive behind our donation model is to show exactly what we've spent money on, and what advances have come out of it.

    (we intend to spend money on in-house user-submitted projects as well, but a grant is easier to perform at this stage)

    OSM and Copenhagen Suborbitals thread here []


    FY2010 NASA budget: 18 billion dollars
    2005-adjusted cost of Apollo Program: 170 billion dollars.

    Gross sales of cell phones in 2008: 38 billion dollars
    sales of cell phones in a recent 6 month period: 65 billion dollars

    We are currently spending more money on cell phones in one year, than the Apollo program spent in a decade.

    Very rough estimate of Copenhagen Suborbitals' operating costs over past 2 years: 200,000$ to 300,000$

    Sales of ringtones in the US market for 2008: 750,000,000$

    Sales of "5 dollar footlongs" in Subway franchises in 2008: 3,200,000,000$

    The public has more disposable income than the budgets of all space agencies and for-profit corporations combined. The OSM wants to put that to work.

    After all, we already bought the Internet.

  • Re:I love these guys (Score:3, Informative)

    by mangu ( 126918 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @12:54PM (#33343408)

    Because NASA and the US Air Force in the 1950s were the home of rugged anti-government individualism, free of all political pressure?

    Not anti-government, but with much less political pressure. The goal then was to get to the moon before the Soviets, engineers and scientists had more freedom to do their stuff.

    NASA goals today are dictated by which representative in this or that Congress subcommittee has which subassemblies made by a company in his state.

  • Re:I love these guys (Score:3, Informative)

    by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @06:22PM (#33348182) Homepage

    NASA didn't exist through most of the 1950s. It was created on Oct. 1, 1958.

"Everyone's head is a cheap movie show." -- Jeff G. Bone