Rocket dreams fail to get off the ground in Denmark

A group of amateur astronauts may have to suspend their rocket launch for a year after their attempt to propel a man-sized dummy into space from Denmark went up in smoke. The Copenhagen Suborbitals group had to abort their mission at the military test centre near Bornholm Island in the Baltic Sea after a valve on their DIY spaceship jammed on Sunday.

Despite a dramatic build up, the stargazers were only greeted with a disappointing puff of smoke once the countdown reached zero. A subsequent inspection by the team found a valve, which controls the flow of ice-cold liquid oxygen to the motor, had frozen over.

The Copenhagen Suborbitals, who aim to develop an ultra-cheap rocket that can take a single passenger on a short hop into space, have been given permission to use the test range until 17 September. If they fail to launch before that date, however, they will have to postpone all space travel activities until next year.

In a report by the BBC, Kristian von Bengtson from the Copenhagen Suborbitals group said it will be a while before the dummy, which is the type used by fire fighters to practice rescues, is replaced by a human passenger.

“We’re not going to change the dummy for a real person until we’ve seen the rocket fly to the final height, the final apogee; and many times so we can feel secure about riding it ourselves,” von Bengtson said.

“That may take more than three years; it may take less than 10 years – it’s difficult to say because we’re not trying to kill ourselves here; we’re just having fun. We’ll do it when we’re ready to do it,” he added.

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