Affordable single-person rocket launched

A rocket that carries just one human being is launched in Denmark with what appears to be some success. It cost about $69,000 to build.

Heat 1X
The Heat 1X during a 2010 test. Thomas Pedersen

Some machines are perfect for just one person. A Formula 1 car, for example. Or a Heat-1X rocket.

You haven't heard of the Heat-1X? I feel you might be missing out on something rather special. For this is a rocket built by a Danish nonprofit called Copenhagen Suborbitals. It's a rocket built for one.

You might be wondering if something of this sort might ever get off the ground.

So below I present video evidence of a test launch of the Heat-1X. The New Scientist tells me it cost about $69,000 to build, which is cheerily less than what it takes to buy one of the larger BMWs.

The economics of this project might sound a trifle idealistic. Indeed, last year, a launch went somewhat awry when a hairdryer malfunctioned. This would be a hairdryer that was being used to provide heat inside the rocket.

However, Friday presented us with empirical evidence that the Heat-1X could really fly.

The creators seemed overjoyed. They talked of "going supersonic." They talked of history. However, the test flight wasn't entirely perfect.

There seems to have been a little snag with the parachutes, which seemed a little like the sheets with which prisoners hang themselves.

Moreover, the rocket didn't go too far into the sky. The New Scientist reports that it managed to go only 2 kilometers, which would be 14 kilometers less than was hoped.

However, Kristian von Bengtson of Copenhagen Suborbitals told the New Scientist that he used his remote control to shut down the rocket, as it began to show signs of veering away from the designated test area.

You might wonder what position a human would take up inside this thing.

Well, unlike one of those NASA contraptions, in which the astronauts are on their backs, the idea here is that the one-man flyer would be standing up all the way. Which, I imagine, might feel like the ultimate Elevator to Heaven.

One can surely only applaud this attempt to send ordinary human beings into space on a budget. With the world's economies wafting into further storms, this surely gives hope to all of those normal mortals who are still capable of dreaming.

 

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