Profit-less Space Program Launches In One Week

The Copenhagen Suborbitals are now within one week of their first launch. We looked in on the non-profit and non-secretive space program back in March but we had no idea the group had a frickin’ submarine at their disposal. What you see above is the rocket on its floating launch platform. The submarine will haul it out into the Baltic Sea for launch. There’s not much room in the craft for an astronaut but it will be a horrifying an exhilarating flight. According to the spacecraft page the human payload will be in a half-sitting, half-standing position looking up through an acrylic nose dome. This first launch will not be manned, but once they get through the tests this will be one crazy ride.

40 thoughts on “Profit-less Space Program Launches In One Week

  1. These guys are making amazing progress!! I can’t wait for the stats after this test flight. Also wondering how the half-sitting half-standing is going to feel on the ride – hopefully they’ll make it to a manned flight soon!

  2. While the rocket is impressive in and of itself am I the only one that’s a little concerned that they’re developing rocket and submarine technology at the same time?

    Still, props on both the rocket and the sub!

  3. “but why develop the sub in the first place? Just get a boat to move the platform to sea.”

    They didn’t build the sub for the purpose of towing the rocket. The sub was its own project. When it came time to tow the rocket, well, hey — why not use the sub they already had?

  4. As I recall, the project began when they made a rocketpowered boat for a childrens tv-program :)
    The subs are prior to that. The entire program is open source, and adhearing to KISS, hence the use of Nautilus as it’s at hand.
    BTW Von Bengtsson is a former human habitat engineer at NASA, so not quite an amateur :)

  5. Interestingly enough, the forces a submarine must endure are lesser than current spacecraft in some ways.

    Pressures outside a sub can be tens of atmospheres, depending on its dive depth limits, while in near space, the only pressure will ever be -1 atmosphere.

    Air will leak out into space, but a pinhole will cause a high-pressure jet of water, in a sub.

  6. I’m not so sure about that seating position. In the event things go wrong your eyes balls are going to be locked onto the impact are, until impact. I’d rather see work on launch vehicles capable to place micro/pico communications satellites into orbit.

  7. Why I have the feeling that something will go horrible wrong like the rocket fall back to them :D

    I doubt NASA likes that “kiddies” try to shoot up things to their space. Even if it makes it there it will be just waste floating out there and might collide with 1 multibillion dollar satellites.

  8. @terribledamage

    It’s not really NASA’s space :P
    But even if it does get up there, it’s going to come back down. It’s a SUB-orbital flight, not an orbital one. I’m pretty sure they’re put a bit more thought into this than “Let’s make a rocket and fire it into space and see what happens.”

  9. Maybe if we’re lucky this program will surpass all national space programs and make a moon(preferably Martian) base before the U.S or Russia.

    I’m sure there are enough crazy people to do it. I would for sure.

  10. PROBLEM:
    The pilot, if you want to call him that, will be almost in a standing position.

    If the g forces are great enough, the blood will drain to his feet and he will pass out. Hay may not remember much of his flight is he survives.

    This is why pilots in modern fighter planes sit reclined.

  11. @Zool:
    My first guess is that the controls are placebos: Each switch or button activates instrumentation that tells the pilot everything’s nominal. If anything, one of them probably plays soothing music and records the pilot’s last words.

  12. @terribledamage

    You should see the amount of garbage that is orbiting the earth already.

    From NASA Orbital Debris site FAQ:

    What is the principal source of large orbital debris?
    Satellite explosions and collisions. Prior to 2007, the principal source of debris was old upper launch vehicle stages left in orbit with stored energy sources, e.g. , residual propellants and high pressure fluids. The intentional destruction of the Fengyun-1C weather satellite by China in 2007 and the accidental collision of American and Russian communications satellites in 2009 greatly increased the number of large debris in orbit.

  13. Scott: The pilot will be wearing a g-force suit from the danish airforce, don’t worry it’s highly skilled professionals on the job! Von Bengtsson is former NASA guy working with these kind of things.

    I think it will go well, happy launch guys!

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