Private space

September 10th, 2010

When I say private space, I don’t mean a place for privacy, I mean the democratization of sub-orbital, low-Earth orbits and beyond. I am very interested in the privatization of the space industry because I believe that ultimately it will be the only way that access to space will become available to common citizens. While it may always be a rich person’s activity, they will drive new business models and new technologies in a way that government and military systems cannot.

So, it is with much interest that I am following the efforts of Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen and the team at Coppenhagen Suborbitals. I don’t really know much about them but they are almost mythic in their accomplishments. So far they have built their own submarine (which looks like a miniature U-boat) and are now building their own floating launch platform and sub-orbital manned rocket!

The rocket is a small, single person affair that does little more than offer a ride up to 100km and back. Still, to be able to do this – and all as a small not-for-profit team based in Denmark, is pretty remarkable. This is what I wish Canada’s daVinci project or Canadian Arrow had become. Perhaps it is because the Danes started out with the stated restriction that it was not for profit that they avoided the showiness and market churn that plagued the Canadian efforts. Instead the Danish team was able to focus on engineering and actual progress. Coppenhaggen Suborbital’s first test flight this week was cancelled due to a frozen valve.  The next attempt has been pushed back to June next year.  It will be a long winter waiting, but it really looks like this team has what it takes to get someone into space.

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