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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.

    • by mangu ( 126918 )

      Definitely, a guy must have steel balls to ride that! Even more so considering that their testing budget is rather limited, like the rest of the project.

    • I read that as clean out at first.

      To boldly go where no non profit has gone before.

    • by rolfac ( 1884896 )
      A gallery from saturdays launch of the platform: []
  • by zill ( 1690130 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @04:13AM (#33338190)
    The project leader, Peter Madsen, reportedly commutes to work every morning in his miniture submarine [].
  • Home built sub? Hopefully not home built boosters, home built life-support...where would you draw the line! Personally, I draw it at home built McDonalds. It's never quite the same.
    • Re:Home built (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdot@spad.[ ]uk ['co.' in gap]> on Monday August 23, 2010 @04:57AM (#33338396) Homepage

      If you build it properly does it matter where you build it?

      • Re:Home built (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:16AM (#33338470)

        It matters where you test it - and how willing are you to break N custom-built pieces to ensure N+1 and onwards won't crack under pressure.

        Say what you want about greedy manufacturers trying to lower costs, but proper QA requires economies of scale - there is a reason prototypes ended up in museums and not flying to the moon.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Plammox ( 717738 )
          In my experience, the primary goal of QA is to generate documentation to prove the project owners did due diligence, and then in a distant second place, to actually find bugs and faults. Did I mention they use a $15 hair dryer to keep some of their valves warm at high altitudes? It will be interesting how far they get using this approach.
          • Did I mention they use a $15 hair dryer to keep some of their valves warm at high altitudes? It will be interesting how far they get using this approach.

            They'll get as far as their extension cords will let them.
          • Did I mention they use a $15 hair dryer to keep some of their valves warm at high altitudes? It will be interesting how far they get using this approach.

            I bet they make it all the way to the crash site!

        • Oh, you mean those hand built, non-factory line, non-mass produced, non-"scale of economy" Mazeratis aren't junk cars?

          Is it really possible that people can actually have a quality built product like those old Louis XIV furniture pieces or custom built Mazeratis that aren't mass-produced scale of economy products? You know once upon a time, quality didn't depend on an assembly line. Assembly lines are good for producing large quantities of products, but they they don't have any lock on quality. Just mass pro

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah...homebuilt submarine....

      Checkout the videoes in my channel:

      • Why doesn't this have more points? I wish I had mod points just to set the record straight!

        Good luck to you guys!

  • Zing! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Loktar Ogar ( 960557 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @04:34AM (#33338292)
    Nonprofit space exploration? Is there any other kind?
    • Its taken this long for NASA to perfect it.

    • Nonprofit space exploration? Is there any other kind?

      Some day, there will be. For example, asteroid mining companies exploring where to find lucrative asteroids to mine.

      • Was that a Amiga game or C64?
  • I suggest we launch a campaign to ask the design to become open sourced so we can do battle over the license and split it among many spacefaring distributions, thus have our own version of Star Wars
    • by Plammox ( 717738 )
      In fact, they're ready to share the design details openly. They even call it an open source rocket. Let's see if anyone wants them after the first test.
  • 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

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

    • by IronDragon ( 74186 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @07:36AM (#33339028) Homepage

      There's another thread of interest in there, involving an organization that aims to become the "" of aerospace engineering. Their site should be ready within another week or so, as a collaborative development environment, skill-matching social network, and space science/engineering knowledgebase.

      It also happens, their first official act will be a grant of approximately 5000$ towards Copenhagen Suborbitals. We have raised about 1500$ so far.

      The "Open Space Movement" supports Copenhagen Suborbitals.

  • After they successfully completed the task of getting a man in space, they'll start planning the next step: Figuring out how to return him back to earth. :-)

  • Just noted this: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:34AM (#33338542) Journal

    Just noted this:

    The mission has a 100% peacefull purpose and is not in any way involved in carrying explosive, nuclear, biological and chemical payloads.

    If they want to put a man into space, how can they avoid biological payloads?

    • Just noted this:

      The mission has a 100% peacefull purpose and is not in any way involved in carrying explosive, nuclear, biological and chemical payloads.

      If they want to put a man into space, how can they avoid biological payloads?

      Maybe he's going to be sterilised first.

  • There seems to be a good reason why astronauts sit in a different position than the vertical one!
    • I think I'd want to be wearing my bike helmet at least. And a G suit.

      • Keep in mind, this isn't the final vehicle design. This is just the first prototype, and they are sending up a crash test dummy. In the Something Awful thread I linked above, they talk about redesigning to make the position more feasible for a living person to go up in. The final rocket design is larger than the one they are preparing to test launch, which will have more room for better positions.

        As for G-suits, I think they mentioned using the kind of flight suit that Chinese MiG pilots use. I'm sure a sea

  • by Peet42 ( 904274 ) <Peet42@Netscap e . net> on Monday August 23, 2010 @05:51AM (#33338598)
    Many NASA missions were "non-profit".
    • by mangu ( 126918 )

      Many NASA missions were "non-profit".

      Only in direct monetary terms. Many politicians got votes from NASA projects. If you plot the geographic locations of NASA subcontractors you'll see they are spread all over the USA, every one gets a piece of that pork barrel.

      • If you add non-monetary profits, then this one also gets profit: The people doing it get wider recognition and certainly an ego boost, provided they succeed (but not succeeding usually implies no profit anyway).

      • This is a common misconception, fuelled by people who really hate spaceflight.

        The United States (and the world) made HUGE profits on the space program, even after funding Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, from the savings from improved weather prediction (and, in particular, hurricane tracking and landfall location prediction).

        We built the boosters, we built the satellites, we saved enough on people not getting killed that the rest of the program was free, in fact immensely profitable.

        There is a REASON why the 1

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        And so there was plenty of profit in the space program, it's just that NASA didn't see any of it.

  • this is freaking awesome.
    make it open source !!!!!!

    • FYI, it is. They've even released the blueprints for this thing under an open source license (I don't know which one... the site is down at the moment) and are also planning on sharing any data they've received from the flights including performance data under similar licenses.

      Be careful for what you ask... as you might just get it.

      Take those plans and get your own team together to build another one!

  • Damn, that riding position reminds me of being stuck in an MRI machine. Between the that cramped arms at your side position to the openness of the canopy around your head its going to take someone with extreme mental fortitude to take the ride. []

  • 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 roger_pasky ( 1429241 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @07:12AM (#33338928)
    I'm proud to be a donor, and this is one of the best expenditures I've ever done.

    Once I knew about them one year ago (through Slashdot, by the way) I told my wife: "If I stop being a rocket modelling fan forever, will you let me give them the money I planned to spend on rocket models for the rest of my life? It could be the way to be part of a really big thing".

    And she said: "Ok, but I don't want to know if he dies or not".

    I think it's a fair deal, so I gave them a huge amount of money and I won't tell her about the final result.
  • DIY bragging rights (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ghostlibrary ( 450718 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @07:26AM (#33338986) Homepage Journal
    Okay, now I'm jealous. I used to think I was DIY for building my own satellite (Project Calliope []), but... man, I'm using someone else's rocket instead of building my own. I feel so old fashioned. The Copenhagen group are totally awesome!
  • Just pointing out the word choice of push. It's a frikken submarine and a rocket platform. Also, 3 chip's challenge
  • Not to rain on the parade... So, what are the military applications for this missile, I mean rocket, design? Is there any information here we would not want some smaller, more radical, country to possess? Could the passenger space hold a big canister of some chemical or biological agent you would rather not meet up with? - Paranoid in Michigan
    • It could hold about as much as the trunk in a generic sedan, but is less accurate and easier to track. What's your point?

      • It is harder to stop a rocket at the border and ask for papers. Oh, BTW could you pop that space capsule?
      • Grandparent's point, or question is basically do we want a Sourceforge of Rocketry where North Korea or Iran can check out source and build a rocket more capable than their own current designs.

        The fact that most of these Open Source designs will be of the DIY type that could be built by amateurs with easily sourced components ought to raise the Spock eyebrow of at least one intel analyst.

        If nothing else somebody will probalby want to know who is posting and who is lurking there.

        • Only an intel analyst who has been sleeping since 1992 would be surprised at the state of amateur rocketry.

          The only way to embargo information like this would be to restrict the speech of private individuals and that is a far greater threat to society than any rocket plans.

          Personally, I find this wonderful and inspiring and am a little sad that so many people only see a potential for harm.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Teancum ( 67324 )

      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 maximu

    • So, what are the military applications for this missile, I mean rocket, design?

      The builders themselves describe it as "less high tech then an off the shelf scud". AFAIK, there is not really any navigation in it, apart from small thrusters which allow the pilot to spin the rocket around its own axis for panoramic viewing. And their civilian GPS is subsonic only, so they have to wait for the chutes to deploy before they even know where the fuck the thing went. They built the launching platform for less money than what it would cost to rent a decent pram for a week. This project is

    • by amorsen ( 7485 )

      If you can shoot 120 km straight up you can shoot less than twice as far if you pick a 45 degree angle. 240km rockets are nothing special for most nations who care about such things. If you have a hardened payload and safety isn't a major concern, solid-fuelled rockets are probably easier.

  • Those Deolaters among you might want to entreat on the behalf of Fraa Jad. Seems to me the greatest danger here is whoever rides atop this may have trouble with space junk being drawn into orbit around his/her giant balls.
  • 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.

  • Looks like a manned missile; reminds me of the cyber missiles in Gunnm / Battle Angel Alita.
  • Currently the sub, launch platform, rocket and all is well underway from Copenhagen to Bornholm. Info here (in Danish) []
  • Danish rocket launch postponed till Sunday. Live coverage and comment will be at [] - also follow #raket and @ingdk at twitter

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"