They've been at it for a few years now, but the crazy group of amateur rocket scientists who call themselves Copenhagen Suborbitals have triumphed over adversity, successfully launching their DIY rocket nearly 2 miles into the sky last Friday. The privately funded, non-profit aims to one day send human beings into suborbital space on the cheap, without the need of government budgets and administration.
A couple miles may not seem like a lot, especially since 62 miles above the Earth's surface is widely considered to be the boundary of space. But for a group of finely trained Danish volunteers on a shoestring budget (for spaceflight), it's quite an accomplishment.
The successful launch of the homemade HEAT-1X rocket took place from a platform floating in the Baltic Sea last Friday morning, June 3rd. The booster carried a space capsule dubbed Tycho Brahe (everyone's favorite, noseless Danish astronomer), which carried one test flight dummy in its see-through nosecone, to simulate the one space traveler it can hold. After reaching an altitude of nearly 2 miles, its parachute deployed and it fell back into the sea. It suffered minor damage upon landing, but was largely recovered.
Check out some of the amazing video footage from the test flight:
For a non-profit group, this is quite a success and a big step forward to their endgame of inexpensive manned spaceflight. Since the start of Copenhagen Suborbitals in 2008, Danes Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen claimed to have spent only $60,000 a year on the ambitious venture, due to simple materials and low-cost production methods.
You can find more photos and videos, along with data and reports, over at the Copenhagen Suborbitals website.