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Friday, June 3, 2011

Copenhagen Rocket Launched!


From New Scientist:

Original post from 1618 GMT:

A rocket built by a group of Danish space enthusiasts has successfully launched on a short flight high above its sea-based launch platform.

The non-profit organisation Copenhagen Suborbitals built the rocket for around £42,000. They hope to eventually fly a human on a suborbital flight to space using a beefed-up version of the rocket, which is just big enough for one person.

Their first launch attempt a year ago failed to achieve lift-off due to a malfunctioning hairdryer used as a heater inside the rocket.

But their second try on Friday was a success. A video of the flight can be viewed here.

In the video, the rocket can be seen lifting off from its launch pad on the Baltic Sea and soaring high into the sky amid cheers. "We're going supersonic!" someone is heard saying shortly after lift-off.

A few minutes later, the rocket is seen splashing down in the ocean.

Though the rocket itself seems to have performed well, the parachute meant to slow its return to Earth does not appear to have fully opened. "There has been mission anomalies – we are now analysing," someone says in the video.

It was not immediately clear how high the rocket flew. The goal was an altitude of about 15 kilometres.

But the launch team was clearly thrilled with the flight. "The joy is just so huge," Peter Madsen of Copenhagen Suborbitals told Denmark's TV 2, according to a Google translation.

"We've written a little piece of history," added Kristian von Bengtsen, also of Copenhagen Suborbitals.

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