Denmark to become the fourth nation to launch a man into space?

MachinistBlog.com is pleased to announce our support for Copenhagen Suborbitals, a small non-profit suborbital space endeavor led by two guys with big brass ones.  If they are successful Denmark will become the world’s fourth nation to launch a man into space, after Russia, the United States and China.  In addition to wishing them well we have donated $10 to help their efforts 🙂

Seriously, I think what Kristian von Bengtson, Peter Madsen and their small group has accomplished is pretty impressive, especially on a budget that is considerably less than $100,000.

Here are the pertinent facts

  • Their rocket is designed for sub-orbital flight.  The same kind of flight that made Alan Shephard the first American in space.
  • Their astronaut will have very little room to move and will be “half-sitting, half-standing,”  a position they think he’ll be able to withstand because launch forces are expected to be less than 3-Gs.  The first few test flights will carry a dummy that will be used to test that theory.  One of those flights is expected to take place within the next couple of weeks (and very likely within the next few days).
  • The booster is somewhat unusual.  It’s a “hybrid” because it uses both liquid and solid propellants.  Liquid oxygen is used for the oxidizer but I’m not completely sure what kind of fuel it will use.  I believe it’s going to be polyurethane.  They’ve also tested paraffin and epoxy. (That’s right, plastic, wax and glue.)

By the way, there is a machining angle to this story.  The photo below shows the booster’s graphite nozzle being made on a lathe.

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