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ROCKET SCIENCE
Launch of privately-built Danish rocket delayed: builder

by Staff Writers
Copenhagen (AFP) Aug 30, 2010
The launch into space of Denmark's first privately-built rocket has been postponed to Thursday due to bad weather conditions, one of its builders said.

"The wind delayed the transportation of the rocket from Copenhagen to (the island of) Bornholm. But we hope to take our prototype on Tuesday to the launch base in order to be able to take off on Thursday," said Peter Madsen.

Madsen, 39, and Kristian von Bengtsson, also 39, have toiled for over two years to build the nine-metre (30 feet), 1.6-tonne prototype, which is named after the famous Danish astronaut Tycho Brahe.

They intend "to show that with little financial means anyone can send a rocket into space, which is a privilege not just reserved for rich countries," said Madsen.

The prototype cost a total of 50,000 euros (63,400 dollars) and was financed mostly by 2,000 individual sponsors and 20 companies.

The duo hope to send a person into space within three or four years, which would make Denmark only the fourth nation to do so.

Madsen said the project will start off by placing a human-sized doll in the rocket, although it is possible "in principle" to already place a human being inside.

He said the rocket should fly at a speed faster than sound and will reach an altitude of between 10 and 30 kilometres.

And if all goes well, the pair will launch a new prototype by early summer in 2011 -- one that is more powerful, more technologically advanced and could reach a maximum altitude of 120 kilometres.



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