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Saturday, September 25, 2010


A private Danish rocket built by volunteers to launch one person into suborbital space is set to fly its first test flight Tuesday with a dummy pilot riding aboard.

If successful, the rocket should carry its payload up almost 19 miles (30 km) into the upper atmosphere.
This was what the US did with Alan Shepard in 1961. However now it is being done by a small group of Danish enthusiasts as a
$70,000 effort funded by private sponsors and donations includes the capsule, booster and an offshore launch platform.
Well it didn't launch & has been put back to next year because an of the shelf hair dryer component failed to keep the fuel running. However this is merely a technology glitch & doesn't affect the principle of it being feasible. It does tend to support Jerry Pournelle's assessment
I wish them well, but I wouldn't ride it.

When I first met Jeana Yaeger (copilot with Dick Rutan of the Voyager on the first non-stop non-refueled flight around the world) she had volunteered to let Captain Robert Truax launch her 70 miles downrange in what amounts to a reinforced garbage can atop one of his sea launched Sea Dragon rockets. Truax was once a major figure in rocket development and a rival of Max Hunter for the mantle of Werner von Braun and this was a serious proposition; it didn't happen largely because other events made it pointless. But Miss Yeager was ready to take the ride.

I wish the Danes well, but I wouldn't ride that rocket...

Maybe not but I much more wouldn't have joined Scott going to the South Pole.

The thing that gets me is the cost. $70,000 (£45,000) is nothing. It puts funding elements of space development into individual's hands not just governments. It is, after inflation, merely a fraction of the £10,000 the Daily Mail put up in 1906 as a prize for an aircraft to go from London to Manchester.

Even if no European or North American government is willing to put £45,000 towards promoting progress it now seems X-Prizes, albeit at a low level, are almost inevitable. There are a lot of rich individuals donating sums far larger than that. There are even a lot of newspapers paying more than that to girls willing to name some footballer they slept with.

H/t to Freedom & Whisky where I first saw this

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