Copenhagen, Denmark (UPI) Aug 24, 2010
Astronauts, cosmonauts and even Chinese Sinonauts may soon have company in space, two Denmark engineers say -- so get ready for the Danonauts.
Self-employed engineers Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen are preparing a test launch their hand-built Hybrid Exo Atmospheric Transporter, or HEAT 4 rocket, from a barge off the wind-swept Danish island of Bornholm before mid-September, Britain's The Independent reported Tuesday.
Though the test will only carry a crash test dummy aloft, it is intended that Heat 4 will eventually take former NASA scientist von Bengtson into sub-orbital space inside a capsule barely big enough to contain his body in a standing position and capped with a thick glass dome allowing a 360-degree view of the Earth below.
If all goes as intended, the 30-foot rocket will burn through its fuel in about 60 seconds to propel the craft at 1,250 mph to a height of more than 62 miles, where it will experience weightlessness for about 5 minutes before drifting back to the Baltic Sea slowed by a parachute.
And the cost for all this? Approximately $63,000, paid entirely by donations ranging between 15 cents to $3,000 from members of the public and sponsors.
The cost is about 0.02 percent of the $450 million average cost of a NASA space mission, The Independent reported.
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