If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Go Vikings!

I mentioned a week or so ago that the Danes are a bunch of nutcases. Further proof, if that were necessary, comes from yesterday's Wired:

A team of Danish volunteers has built a rocket capable of carrying a human into space, and will be launching it in a week's time.

The rocket has been built with money from sponsors and private subscription. It is scheduled to launch on 31 August.

The rocket is named HEAT1X-TYCHO BRAHE, and its first test flight will carry a crash test dummy, rather than a human, so that the safety aspects of the design can be analysed.

Like the name, and the concern for safety issues.

It'll launch from a floating platform that the team has also built, which will be towed into the middle of the Baltic sea by a submarine called Nautilus that the pair built as their last project.

Stunning. Building your own submarine as a launch vehicle.

In response to one question asking what the chances of the person inside dying are, they replied: "Unlike Columbia we're not moving at orbital speeds so 'dying a gruesome death burning up on re-entry' with our kit has a very low outcome probability."

Well, they've got all the jargon sorted.

Despite that, the rocket will still break the sound barrier, and subject the pilot (who is forced to stand inside the capsule) to considerable g-forces.

I hope they give him one of those leather straps like they have on the Tube.

If successful, Denmark will be the fourth country to put one of its citizens into space, following the USA, Soviet Union and China, and the first in the world to do it without government funding.

Great idea, but 145 days too late, I think.


  1. Good luck to them!

    I was half-expecting something a bit like the Evel Knievel Snake River bodge, but no - it looks pretty serious.

    HEAT-1X is the LOx/polyurethane booster unit, while Tycho Brahe is the space capsule proper, complete with what looks like a bog-standard Sparco 4-point racing harness (sadly, no grab-handle).

    The Nautilus is not only a project, but the largest amateur-built submarine in the world, being a half-size replica of a Danish military sub. Apparently it's legal to build and operate a submarine of less than 23 metres in Danish waters.

    And they're launching from a floating platform because it's difficult to get permission for a land launch. So a bit of international water (that just happens to be regularly used for military exercises and is within the Russian missile detection umbrella) seems like an ideal place!

    Mad, but brilliant.

    More information and some good pictures at:

    I'm sufficiently impressed that I'm off to send them a donation now.

  2. Well, knock me down with a length of cracked HT lead! From the tone of the Wired article I was sure it was a spoof. I mean, making the astronaut stand up for the journey - come on! But perhaps I'm wrong. I sure hope so. If it's genuine, it's brilliant, and just the sort of thing I would support too.


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