Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Copenhagen Suborbitals Successfully Launches Active Guided Rocket (arcticstartup.com)
154 points by acro on June 26, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 41 comments

What this means is that the major obstacles for going into space have been cleared (reliable engine, logistics around sea launch, active guidance) so the next launch will be Heat2x, which has the potential to reach an altitude of 130 km. Space starts at 100 km.

Disclaimer: I'm involved with Copenhagen Suborbitals, and managed the livestreaming of the event.

Did you see the joke comparing your achievement to the resekort situation[1]?

[1] https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151666565407048&se...

yes - it was hilarious! Rejsekortet is such an embarrasment to Denmark, my only constellation is that I once had sex with the CEO's daughter.

That escalated quickly.

I think you mean "consolation", but I understand the reasons for the typo.

You cheeky bastard--to boldly go and all that, I assume?

Oh no. You guys are implementing the same system that was launched in Holland (from the looks of the scanner).

It does not get better...

Thus electronic ticket systems :) The local government her in Oslo, Norway are working on something similar[0]. It should have been finished in 2005.

Now after massive cost overruns they have scoped it down and will soon demolish part of the system (the ticket barriers at the railway station), but still keeping some of it. And of course they have now also started to talk about a new system, this time requiring everyone to have a smartphone with them ( what will happen if your battery runs flat?).

0: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reisekort

> What this means is that the major obstacles for going into space have been cleared (reliable engine, logistics around sea launch, active guidance) so the next launch will be Heat2x, which has the potential to reach an altitude of 130 km. Space starts at 100 km.

This seems to imply a ballistic trajectory. Still an impressive feat, but getting to orbital velocity seems to be as hard (if not harder), than getting to 100km.

"This seems to imply a ballistic trajectory"

To be fair, they are called Copenhagen Suborbitals.

IMHO Whatever they do seems unfeasibly cool to me...

Good point.

And it IS indeed one of the coolest things a human being can do - I'm quite envious.

I just wanted to make a point, so people don't start thinking that the next step is to strap a microsatellite on that thing :)

I'm very curious: How much did this all cost (I mean, without considering the time donated by volunteers)?

Their primary income is from the support organisation. It costs 100 Danish kroner a month (roughly $20) and there are around 700 members. So they live on roughly $14.000 a month, or $170.000 a year.

Needless to say there is a lot of ingenuity in costcutting, a lot of parts from home-depot....

Wow, this is even more impressive than the results imho. Kudos to you!

Even though the small budget is very impressive, we wouldn't mind to have more members in the support group. Ahem... :-) http://www.copenhagensuborbitals.com/

I don't know how reliable the estimate is but I have heard 10 million for the entire venture.

That is 10 million kroner, roughly 2 mill USD. I doubt NASA could do one launch for that amount of money.

Wouldn't you still need to be able to retrieve the rocket? I mean it isn't a big issue that Sapphire rest on the bottom of the Baltic, but if Peter Madsen ends up there.

What are the chances that CS would be open to publicly offering their schematics and blueprints for the open-source community?

http://copenhagensuborbitals.com/resources_downloads.php has a CAD files. Are you looking for something specific that isn't there?

I wasn't aware that the Arduino figured so prominently in their avionics!

Would that make Denmark the fourth nation to independently achieve manned space flight, behind Russia/USSR, USA and China? Or is it disqualified for not being government run?

It would be highly unfair if it got overlooked on those grounds.

It was unmanned. Their final goal is to launch a human into space.

Hence why I wrote 'would' and not 'does'. My question is if it counts once they actually manage.

I'm not sure how doing manned suborbitals would stack up against Japan's JAXA which semi-regularly puts things into orbit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-IIA#Launch_history

They don't have active plans for manned missions right now iirc, but I would venture to guess that if they wanted to, they could put someone up there without too much effort. The most immediately obvious hurdle is that they would need a human-rated pressurized reentry vehicle.

Perhaps, but the record is to put a human in space. The Soviets won most of the space race, because they did most of the milestones first. In the terms of race; Denmark could beat Japan if Japan never puts a human in space beforehand.

Of course, saying 'Denmark' in this context seems a bit weird, as it is not our government pushing it, but volunteers. But I will admit it does make me a little proud to be Danish. One of those few times.

I'd say it would make Copenhagen Suborbitals the 4:th entry on the list. Much more impressive, since it isn't backed/funded by a government.

The youtube channel is the best way to catch up with the project. There are some cool videos of engine tests and a handful of very professionally edited videos of the team explaining different stuff


Should other nations start watching out for space Vikings?

Anyone else get the H. Beam Piper reference?

Nice, though I wonder what is so notable with the ground track offset.

It shows that the active guidance works as expected. Active guidance is extremely difficult. The hardware is difficult because you need to design jetvanes that work under extreme pressure, and in a 3000 degree jet exhaust. The software is difficult because it needs to be extremely reliable while still compensating for a lot of factors such as wind, spin, air density, etc. and you can't test it, so there is no space for bugs.

No amateurs have ever even attempted active guidance before, and getting it right in the first go is a huge accomplishment.

Regarding testing, aren't there any possibilities of testing just parts of the software, possibly via simulation, or is everything so inter-dependent that a live physical test is the only way to go? It's pretty impressive to get something so complex right in the first try! Props!

You can of course test subsystems, how they play with each other, I/O, etc. But the main job of actually sending the rocket straight up is not testable. You could build simulations, but they wouldn't help much since there are so many parameters, unknowns, etc. that building an accurate simulation would probably be as expensive as a test.

Besides, tests are much more fun!

Just build it in Kerbal Space Program!

This is incorrect, there have been successfully flown, actively stabilised, passively unstable model rockets made by amateurs before. E.g. Gyroc in the UK.


There have also been a few in the states. All passively unstable too.

It means that the guidance system kept the rocket flying straight upwards.

Cool. Thanks.

Does anyone know why the flames appear to "stutter" from the rocket in slow motion? Is that expected behavior?

It looks like turbulence or presure spikes on the chamber at ignition, depending the magnitude that could lead to a explosion (I just an aficionado, so take this opinion for what it´s worth) I also follow the sugar rocket to space project, and I think they had some problems with this, and with cracking in the propellant. Is the data from the launch available?.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact