COPENHAGEN (AFP) - A home-made rocket built by two Danes successfully blasted off from a floating launch pad off the Danish Baltic island of Bornholm Friday, nine months after its first test flight failed due to a defective hair drier.
"It was like seeing a missile and it came over us a couple of kilometres up. We are ecstatic and will be going home with everything we have learned," one of the Danish inventors behind the project, Peter Madsen, told public broadcaster TV2 News.
A homemade unmanned 30-foot (9-meter) rocket takes off over the Baltic Sea in Denmark on Friday, June 3, 2011. Two Danish space enthusiasts on Friday successfully launched the homemade rocket. T Peter Madsen and Kristian von Bengtson used a barge near the Danish island of Bornholm as a launch pad for their 1.6 ton rocket, which flew some five miles (eight kilometers) high into the blue sky. (AP)
The nine-metre (30-foot), 1.6-tonne rocket and its small capsule have taken space enthusiast Madsen, former NASA employee Kristian von Bengtsson and an army of volunteers some three years to test and build.
Last September, their first launch attempt failed when a hair drier designed to keep a valve from freezing failed.
There had been fears that Friday's attempt would also go wrong when the unmanned rocket's automatic start sequence did not initiate, but after a new countdown began, all systems were go and at precisely 4:32 pm (1432 GMT), the rocket roared into the sky.
"It is a success the we got the rocket off the ground, and I believe that we have written a bit of history," von Bengtsson told TV2 after the successful launch.
It is not yet clear how far the rocket rose into the air and whether it reached the altitude of between 14 and 16 kilometres (8.9-9.9 miles) hoped for by the Copenhagen Suborbitals group.
Prior to last year's failed blast-off attempt, Madsen said the group hoped to show that "with little financial means anyone can send a rocket into space, which is a privilege not just reserved for rich countries."
Last year the group, which is financed by around 20 companies and 2,000 individuals, said they had spent a total of 50,000 euros ($73,000) on the prototype.
It was not immediately clear how much more had been pumped in to get the rocket in shape for launching.
Madsen said after the failed September 2010 attempt that after three to four problem-free flights he aims to be a passenger in the rocket's tiny capsule, which would make him the first Dane in space.
덴마크 아마추어 발명가, 로켓 발사 성공
목표 고도에는 미달..통상 제작 로켓보다 500배 커
(코펜하겐 AFP=연합뉴스) 덴마크의 아마추어 발명가들이 만든 무인 우주로켓이 3일 오후(현지시각) 덴마크 보른홀름섬 동부 발트해상에서 성공적으로 발사됐다.
이 로켓은 열성적 우주 팬인 피터 매드센과 전직 미국항공우주국(NASA) 직원인크리스티안 본 벵슨이 제작한 `히트 1X 티코 브라헤(HEAT 1X-TYCHO BRAHE)'.
길이 9m, 무게 1.6t, 16만5천 마력의 무인 로켓이며, 당초 목표 고도인 15∼16km에는 못 미치는 2.8km까지 올라갔다 바다로 낙하했다.
이번 로켓은 아마추어들이 통상 제작하는 로켓보다 500배나 큰 것으로 제작에는 6만 달러가 들었다.
두 사람은 지난 2008년 주요 민간 또는 공공기관의 금융지원 없이도 로켓발사가 가능하다는 것을 증명하겠다며 의기투합했다.
유인 우주선 발사를 목표로 한 비영리 단체 `코펜하겐 서브오비틀'을 만들었고, 정부 지원 없이 후원자와 기부만으로 다른 전문가들과 함께 로켓을 개발해왔다.
이들은 지난해 9월에는 처음으로 로켓 발사를 시도했으나 실패했었다.
벵슨은 발사 성공 뒤 현지 방송 TV2에 나와 "우리는 역사의 작은 한 부분을 썼다"고 말했고, 매드센은 "다음번에 더 나은 로켓을 만들기 위해 충분한 자료를 모을것"이라며 더 지켜봐줄 것을 주문했다.