Going a-Viking

by wjw on August 24, 2010

If all goes well, in the very near future Denmark will become the fourth nation to put a man into space.

Copenhagen Suborbitals, headed by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen, hope to launch the world’s first amateur-built rocket for human space travel. As of this writing, the launch countdown clock on the Copenhagen Suborbitals’ website reads 7 days and 12 hours, which would put the launch on August 30 at about 1300 GMT. This upcoming flight will be an unmanned test flight, but if all goes well, Madsen hopes to be inside the single-passenger capsule named Tycho Brahe for a manned flight in the near future. They have a sea-launch site on the Baltic Sea near Bornholm, Denmark, and their HEAT 1-X rocket is ready to go.

The unique thing about the Danish rocket is that there’s no government money involved.  The rocket is funded privately.

Previously, Madsen built the world’s largest home-made submarine, UC3 Nautilus. von Bengtson used to work for NASA. “This is the wildest thing I’ve made,” said Madsen in the Danish publication B.T. It is much wilder than the submarine.” Madsen added that he was tired of waiting for NASA, so decided to build a rocket himself.

Yeah, I’m tired of waiting for NASA, too.  Go, Denmark!  Denmark to the stars!

mike h August 24, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Good luck!

JeremyR August 24, 2010 at 9:42 pm

This reminds me of a scaled up version of those model rockets that you put crickets or grasshoppers in.

Skyler August 24, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I would say, since the government is not doing this or paying for it, that the “nation” should not be ascribed the credit.

Madsen is doing it, not Denmark.

Martin L. Shoemaker August 24, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Daaaaaanes innnnnnnnnnnn Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!!!!!!

Sorry, I watched too much Muppet Show as a kid.

A more recent pop culture reference is “The Astronaut Farmer”, about a former NASA astronaut who builds his own rocket. (To add to the coincidence: the wife in that film was played by Virginia Madsen. No relation, I assume to Peter Madsen.)

All jokes aside, nothing would please me more than to have von Bengtson and Madsen prove that film prophetic. Denmark to the stars, indeed!

John F. MacMichael August 24, 2010 at 11:01 pm

A pity that Poul Anderson did not live to see this. It would have appealed to him on multiple levels. A free enterprise path to space and its Danish. If the rocket was beer powered it would be perfect.

Eric Blair August 25, 2010 at 2:04 am


What I Think August 25, 2010 at 4:10 am

Judging from the size of the service gantries, this is not a terribly tall rocket. And unless Denmark has significantly advanced the state of the art, we shouldn’t expect this craft to set any altitude records.

But I’m cheering on the Danes anyway.

Be safe, and go for the moon!

Robert August 25, 2010 at 5:54 am

Skylar, nation and government are no more synonymous than nation and individual.

If a Dane can do this in Denmark, it is a Danish achievement.

Come on, Denmark, show us what ya got!

PJ/Maryland August 25, 2010 at 5:58 am

Harry Harrison’s Daleth Effect springs to mind. In it Danes use a newly discovered, um, force to go into space and begin colonizing the Moon. A good read, tho it is the Danish government that builds the spaceships in the novel; the first of the ships is a submarine.

Submariiiiiiiiiiiines in Spaaaaace!

Shah of Persia August 25, 2010 at 8:48 am

Fearsome Spacefaring Vikings!

RPD August 25, 2010 at 1:29 pm

How is the nanny state EU not stepping in to bollix this up somehow? Have they failed in their mission creep?

equitus August 25, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Is it made of LEGO?

CM/TEXAS August 28, 2010 at 4:05 pm

LIGHT THAT CANDLE ! … Godspeed Space Dummy.

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