Copenhagen Suborbitals Launches Impressive Amateur Liquid Fueled Rocket

Copenhagen Suborbitals just launched their latest amateur liquid fuel rocket. Why? Because they want to strap someone to a bigger amateur liquid fuel rocket and launch them into space.

We’ve covered them before, but it’s been a while. While they make a big deal of being amateurs, they are the least amateurish amateurs we’ve come across. We’ll forgive a lot as long as they keep making great videos about their projects. Or posting great pictures of the internals of their rockets.

The Nexø I rocket they recently launched claims to be the first guided, amateur, liquid-fueled rocket. There is a nice post on the guidance system. It was launched from a custom built barge off the shore of Denmark, which allows them to escape quite a few legal hurdles around the launch. The rocket flew beautifully. That is, it went only away from the ground; no other directions. Also, it didn’t explode, which is a lot to expect from even the biggest players in the field.

Copenhagen Suborbitals continues to do amazing work. Hopefully their next rocket will be even more impressive… for amateurs, that is.

41 thoughts on “Copenhagen Suborbitals Launches Impressive Amateur Liquid Fueled Rocket

  1. Back in the 60s, while playing with my Estes rockets in the D.C. area, I fiercely envied the folks out in the western states who were building and launching pretty big liquid-fueled rockets. I was sorely tempted to try it, though I suppose I’d just be getting out of jail if I had–the property damage would no doubt have been massive.

      1. Vancouver, B.C. (where model rockets were prohibited). But I had a few cousins around the U.S. east coast (including the D.C. area) with whom I would spend summers. Some of them were more reckless than others. Most bullied me, which, I have been told, is why I developed my infamous passive-aggressive personality.

      2. Currently, Katie and I are living in Arlington, Virginia (you know, where the Pentagon is, though that’s just an example and you shouldn’t attach any significance to it). I’m working on a project which, if I told you about it, I (well, someone) would have to make you disappear.

        1. Oh a nod is as good as a wink, “disappear” eh? So you’re correcting Einstein’s mistakes with the USS Eldridge, since the Russians have over the horizon radars that can detect the F-35 and they’re getting desperate for actually stealthy stealth.

          1. Nice try, but it’s a tad more dramatic than that–“disappear” as in displacement. However, we don’t want to get the black vans involved, so I’ve already said more than enough.

    1. The rocket was programmed to deploy the ballute after a timer has run out and MECO measured by a pressure sensor in the burn chamber. But due to the low flight time the timer did not run out and then the low pressure measured was interpreted as a sensing error.

      they then tried to manually deploy the ballute, but due to a error in the uplink signal this also failed. Therefore the rocket ended up doing a splashdown at a speed of 530kph.

    2. The engine was underperforming from the start. Engine cut off prematurely. Nose cone and parachute did not deploy. Manual deployment did not respond. They let it dive into the water.

    3. They think they overfilled the O2 tank, which left less gas in the tank then planned, which resulted in less fuel pressure (no pumps in this design), and so the engine wasn’t running at full power and cut out. Their system made the assumption that it was a sensor failure.

      they were able to remote deploy the parachute when it shut down, but weren’t able to disconnect the nose-cone for a soft spashdown.

  2. Even with the issues on this flight, I would consider it a successful test. Nobody was injured, the rocket did fly, and they recovered the majority of the components upon its return.

    Just my humble opinion, but I think Goddard would be proud.

    Take the lessons from this splashdown and develop. Redundancy is all-important with anything that intentionally leaves the ground.

    Just one question, what are they using for the other part of the fuel mix?
    Kerosene? (cheap)
    Hydrazine? (unlikely)
    Other? (anyone’s guess)

      1. Yes, this part of the rocket remembered me of the technical details of the V2. LOX + Alcohol (diluted to reduce flame temperature even more) and the graphite steering vanes. But the V2 had turbo pumps, powered by highly concentrated H2O2.

  3. Why not a hybrid motor instead of liquid? If I were an “amateur” and I were thinking of building a rocket to actually carry a human, I think I’d consider a hybrid before a liquid because they’re simpler and likely safer and less prone to catastrophic failure than either solid or liquid.

    1. That was Scaled Composites idea with SS1. However, when they tried to scale it up for the Virgin Galactic bird, they’ve had nothing but problems, including three deaths on the ground (the one death in flight was due to the pilot releasing the lock on the feather mechanism too early, not the engine). It is much, much easier to work with their ethanol/water mix than it is trying to get a rubber grain mixture correct.

        1. I stand corrected:
          – 3 people died during that test
          – not a test firing, but a cold flow test, which is probably why they were just behind a chain link fence
          – there seems to have been a fairly blatant disregard for safety procedures, because they falsely believed that N2O is stable and safe to work with

          notice the burnt outline of whatever was on the test platform

    2. IIRC they moved away from hybrid and solid motors to liquid bi-propellant because the design could be scaled up much more easily (they’ve tested all three types).
      They anticipate being able to take their current engine design (BPM-5) and make it about ten times larger.

  4. Watched the live stream at the time, was great fun to see them joke about all sorts of things, show internals during the stream aswell, bitch about ‘stupid swedish sailers’ getting in the launch area etc.
    In the end the launch was cool too, it worked, even though only for a short period, and after that, they instantly recovered the rocket, so it was all good, had a total kerbal space program vibe too it hehe.

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