Copenhagen Suborbitals – New Record!

BPM - 5 (Credit: Copenhagen Suborbitals)
BPM – 5 (Credit: Thomas Pedersen/Copenhagen Suborbitals)

Copenhagen Suborbitals have published a new blog post on what has been happening recently at their workshop, putting a new an old and new BPM-5 engine through its paces.

We put two engines through their paces on Sunday. A brand new engine which is intended for use in Jop’s gimbal setup, and good old Franken 5 was retrieved from the museum exhibition for yet more tests. The test program for Sunday thus looked like this:

Commissioning of the new engine with a 7 second mainstage burn, at 15 bar chamber pressure.

One more test using the new engine, same parameters as the first test, apart from the use of nitrogen instead of helium as pressurisation gas. As you may know, helium is rather expensive, we can save a fair amount of money using nitrogen. The interesting point here is whether using nitrogen will impact performance.

Last test using the new engine, again using nitrogen. For this test we deliberately let the tank stay pressurised for 5 minutes. This gave the nitrogen time to mix with the oxygen, a worst case scenario test of the feasibility of the use of nitrogen as pressurisation gas.

Commisioning of a new injector, injector #3. Until now all tests (even the Nexø I flight) have been performed using injector #2. It was about time to test one of the new injectors. For this test Franken 5 was put into service again.

Record attempt with Franken 5. More details on this later.

The team went away from metal spinning for Jop’s engine and had a CNC nozzle machined and then welded onto the chamber, thus giving tighter tolerances.

And of course of the note, the team conducted a 33-second burn of the Franken 5 engine using upgraded capacity test stand tanks. These tanks now emulate the tank size of the Nexo series of rockets.

For the final test of the day we let a bit of amusement park feeling enter the test area … We have upgraded the test stand tanks from 33 liters to 66 liters as a prerequisite for our test of the student engine, and the tanks now have the same volume as the Nexø I and Nexø II tanks. And no, I have no idea why CS design tanks in 33 liter increments. The larger tanks lends us opportunity to perform looong tests, and Sunday we wanted to set a new record. For this we loaded 48 kg of ethanol and 62 kg of LOX in the tanks! A sort of preview of the expected Nexø II performance next summer on the Baltic Sea.
This resulted in an approximately 33 second long burn, about twice as long as Franken 5’s former record. A total of 182,000 N-s delivered with an ear splitting, almost infinite roar. Pure bliss, resulting in cheshire cat grins all over Mission Control.

No word on the injector difference between #2 and #3, would be interesting to know this, whether it is a completely new orifice pattern or just more accurately machined, or something else.

Instagram Pic of the Week

Antares is back!!

HyEnD HEROS Rockets

I woke up to read this facebook post from HyEnD, who consist of students from the University of Stuttgart. The team’s rockets HEROS 2 and 3 are set to start their launch campaign come October 24th from Kiruna in Sweden and aim to achieve more than 20km of altitude.

From August, the stats of HEROS 2:

  • Length: 7.5
  • Diameter: 0.223 m
  • Hybrid rocket engine (nitrous oxide and paraffin)
  • Maximum takeoff weight: ~ 177 kg
  • Thrust: 10,000 N
  • Altitude: about 21.5 km
  • Recovery System: Multi-stage parachute Salvage System
  • Objective: European altitude record for student rocket

Of note is the two HEROS rockets, building two rockets side by side came up in an Arocket post a few years ago by John Carmack of Armadillo Aerospace (now EXOS Aerospace). John was talking about building suborbital rockets but the concept is the same. By building two side by side, batch production and labour intensive tasks become much more effective, and in trying to achieve these goals it is more than likely that you will lose a vehicle or two.

This altitude will no doubt have the team at DARE a little worried as they currently hold the European altitude record for amateur rocketry of 21.457 km with their Stratos II+ rocket, set last year. The team is working on Stratos III, so I imagine if the record is taken they will come back and reclaim it as their original goal for Stratos II+ was 50km, I’d bet they would be aiming to reach that again.

DARE Roll-Controlled Flights

Video Caption: ACT’s second attempt at a roll-controlled flight, using improved hardware and software. The launch was conducted on September 23rd 2016 at ASK ‘t Harde during SLD03-2016, DARE launch day.
This technology will be used in the Aether project, for more information, visit:

Plan Z for Flight

Peter Madsen of RML Spacelab has recently discussed his team’s Plan Z in order to achieve a manned suborbital flight. With the nearing completion of the floating launch platform, in a recent blog post, Peter outlines the goals and timelines that must be achieved before this flight.

(The following has been translated from the original blog post)

First up, Flight Alpha, expected to take place in June 2017

Standard HATV N2O / PUR hybrid extended by 1500 mm, and with a four-port 3D printed crusiform grain.

(Here introduced the original HATV from 2009, with a slightly elongated tank. Along with a four port grain instead of a seven ports provide better ISP and higher apogee than Sapphire, which was standard.)

Primary mission objectives:

Testing of the wire guide starting system.

Secondary mission objectives:

Recovery of the payload section with orange / white six-meter screen, including testing of Niels Hansen radio tracking system

Expected apogee:

14000 meters.

Followed by Flight Bravo, the same launch vehicle and configuration in July 2017 to thoroughly test the wire guided system.

Flight Charlie follows along in August of 2017,

HEAT 3X (shell rocket) / Tycho Brahe II boiler plate capsule.

(Here are introduced for the first time 1 meter diameter shell launcher, we have already built finnes section and tank section to. In addition, a coarse boiler plate capsule. The fly, which is now fit and for a shell rocket at a memorial ø650 mm HATV deviated N2O / PUR rocket. Fuelgrainen was cast in 2014, and the nozzle and other parts made in 2015. HEAT 3X is basically the original “SuperHATV” with H2O2 replaced with N2O. It has slightly lower density impulse, but the text here is based on computer simulations with N2O one tank of S355 steel and gananvendelse of the original nozzle from SuperHATV arbejdet’. In contrast to H2O2 hybrid we know the characteristics of the hybrid N2O, and have tested them up to more than 100 kN compression force)

Primary mission objectives:

* Testing of the capsule and rocket aerodynamic properties in a “low altitude” test.

Secondary mission objectives:

* Recovery of the capsule including the use of 3 pcs US Army T10 34 foot parachutes.

Expected apogee:

14500 meters

Flight Delta and Echo follow in June and August of 2018 respectively.

Hardware: HEAT4X / Tycho Brahe II BOILERPLATE.

(Here comes HEAT rocket so in a version with 1000 mm tank shell design only by finn section. The engine is a 100 kN hybrid / island 800 Due to the solid design, I hope that a recovery per. Parachute with wet landing is possible, there are very few parts, if any, who do not tolerate seawater in this “big dumb booster”)

Primary mission objectives:

High altitude test of the capsule and rocket.

Secondary Mission objectives:

Recovery of the capsule and launcher.

Expected apogge:

42000 meters.

Expected date:

* Primo June 2018

Flight Ecco:

Hardware: HEAT4X reused / Tycho Brahe II BOILERPLATE.

Primary mission objectives:

Last and final test of the capsule and rocket system

(The flight is the same as Delta, the same rocket, the same capsule)

Secondary Mission objectives:

Recovery of the capsule and launcher.

Expected apogge:

42000 meters.

Expected date:

At the end of August 2018

And finally Flight Foxtrot in 2019, the first manned rocket flight,

Hardware: HEAT 4X reused / Tycho Brahe II MR

Primary mission objectives:

The first manned rocket flight in rocket Madens Rumlaboratorium.

(A manned rocket flight, it is crucial goals for rocket Madsens Rumlaboratorium. Manned rocket flight will regardless of everything else make the possibilities to take the final step toward the 100 km far easier if you get lucky from it.)

Secondary Mission objectives:

Recovery of the capsule and launch vehicle, including recycling of rocket pilot.

Expected apogee:

42000 meters.

This timeline does depend on funds but having had the opportunity to meet Peter, I have no doubt that they will be able to achieve all these milestones on their road to manned space flight.

Watch this space!!

Instagram Pic of the Week

we've been tweaking our engine and it's on the stand! engine testing soon.

A photo posted by EXOS Aerospace SysTech (@exosaero) on

Launching Rockets From Anywhere

A nice video from DLR (in German) about MORABA, MORABA is a mobile rocket base set up to plan and launch a rocket for research, from anywhere in the world. (There are some nice shots, so worth a post!)