Rocket splashes down after safety test

Amateur rocket group successfully tested the safety equipment of its manned space capsule this weekend

(photo: Stephen Wright)
August 13th, 2012 1:14 pm| by admin
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The amateur rocket group Copenhagen Suborbitals launched another rocket into the sea near the island of Bornholm this weekend.

The launch was designed to test the safety equipment of the manned space capsule Tycho Deep Space that they hope will one day safely transport a person to and from space.

It was hoped that the LES rocket engine would take the capsule to a height of about 1.4 kilometres before detaching and parachuting back to the sea.

Unfortunately the rocket spun out of control soon after launch, detaching the capsule at a height that was too low for its parachutes to properly unfurl.

The capsule landed in the sea with an enormous splash leading the test dummy, Randy, within the capsule to suffer a major concussion and probably also some broken limbs.

Randy would probably have survived, however, especially as the capsule remained water tight. Randy died three times during testing last year.

Copenhagen Surborbitals founder Kristian von Bengtson said the launch was successful despite the disappointing landing.

“There is only one thing that didn’t go right: the rocket didn’t fly as high as it was supposed to,” von Bengtson told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Copenhagen Suborbitals co-found Peter Madsen was also positive about the launch.

“Even though the astronaut did not have a soft landing, [Saturday’s] launch showed that our safety systems worked,” Peter Madsen told Jyllands-Posten.

This weekend's launch follows Copenhagen Suborbital's unsuccessful launch of the rocket Smaragd in July that broke up after six kilometres, well before it reached its targeted altitude of 15 kilometres.

(photo: Stephen Wright)
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