Personal Space Torpedo

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Donations from more than 2,000 people, plus other sponsorships, have funded Copenhagen Suborbitals' (CS) Tycho Brahe program, which aims to see individuals launched to at least 100 miles above the earth in personal capsules. The team's proposed capsule is made from rolled steel plate wrapped in a cork heat shield. Inside, the capsule's sole passenger would ride in a near-standing position, wearing a G-suit to help force blood to the head during acceleration. The passenger's head would sit in a transparent hemispheric dome topped with an aerospike for better supersonic performance. It gets better.

Dimensions of the capsule's cabin area are roughly two feet (diameter) by 7.5 feet (length). There will be no room in the capsule for movement once the vehicle goes weightless. After launching to 100 miles, parachutes will be used to slow the final descent. CS's team of about 20 have so far spent about $300,000 over the past four years developing their idea and last year made a test launch. The team says they are focusing on hybrid propellant rockets and have seen "very promising results" from "epoxy resin/nitrous oxide" mixtures. The team says hybrid propellants offer "lower complexity" and also that "the likelihood of catastrophic explosive failure is less." The team has a stepped test program scheduled for 2012.