HEAT 1X Tycho Brahe
HEAT 1X/Tycho Brahe on the floating launchpad "Sputnik".
|Country of origin||Denmark|
|Diameter||64 centimetres (25 in)|
|One passenger/Crash test dummy|
|Launch sites||Nexø spaceport|
HEAT 1X Tycho Brahe is a rocket and spacecraft project which is being built by Copenhagen Suborbitals, a Danish organization attempting to perform the first amateur manned spaceflight. The project consists of a motor called HEAT 1X and a spacecraft Tycho Brahe. Its launch location is a floating platform named Sputnik. The rocket has been test launched twice: In 2010 a power shortage caused a valve to freeze shut, which prevented launch. In 2011 the rocket was successfully launched, reaching an altitude of 2.8 kilometres (1.7 mi) before the engine was shut off due to an undisclosed anomaly.
Micro Spacecraft Tycho Brahe
The Micro Spacecraft (MSC) has a steel pressure hull, and room for one passenger. The passenger will be able to view the outside through a perspex dome. The occupant will fly in a half-standing/half-sitting position, in order to decrease the diameter of the spacecraft. The passenger will sit in a specially designed seat, and will wear anti-G trousers to avoid blackout. The heat shield is made of floor cork. Life support will consist of a diving rebreather derived CO2 scrubber and breathing O2 system. Another compartment will contain both the high-speed drogue parachute and the low-speed main parachutes for deceleration. The sheer volume of the MSC will provide the buoyancy in the water. Pressurized nitrogen will be used for attitude control. The attitude thrusters are part of the non-pressurized volume of the spacecraft.
The rocket HEAT X1
The actual rocket development has resulted in numerous successful tests of the solid fuel epoxy and the liquid oxidizer nitrous oxide, which was used in their hybrid rocket HATV (Hybrid Atmospheric Test Vehicle). The HATV rocket is only 1/3 size of the final rocket, HEAT. This HEAT rocket (Hybrid Exo Atmospheric Transporter) with liquid oxygen and polyurethane, will carry the MSC (the micro-spacecraft) above the 100 km boundary and into space. The MSC is named after Tycho Brahe, and the combination is known as the HEAT-1X TYCHO BRAHE.
Originally HEAT should have been fueled with paraffin wax but a ground test 28 February 2010 revealed that some of the paraffin wax only partially melted, instead of evaporating. The result was that HEAT-1X had less power than expected. A ground test firing of HEAT-1X-P (P for polyurethane) was conducted 16 May 2010. The results have not yet been released.
Stabilization of the rocket is by rollerons, a rather simple mechanism also used by missiles.
Static rocket engine tests
The first version of the HEAT hybrid rocket booster, is built from ordinary construction steel, with the exception of the cryogenic liquid oxygen tank, which is made of AISI 304 stainless steel. The fuel is a polyurethane synthetic rubber, and the oxidizer is liquid oxygen. The oxygen is pressurized with helium gas. The booster can be shut down by radio signal from earth. Total cost is around $50,000.
Lead-acid batteries are used as weight is not an issue on first launch, and proven robustness were deemed more important the low weight of LiPo. Four 12V 7Ah batteries are divided into two banks; two in parallel supplying 12V circuits redundantly, and two in series for the 24V Weibel radar transponder sending to a Continuous Wave radar on the deck of Hjortø. The combination of transmitter and radar means that several objects can be tracked in motion as well as being stationary. The budget did not allow for an inertial measurement unit to compensate for ship movement, but an infrared camera on the radar allows operators to track the rocket.
Offshore launch attempts
The permission to launch has been given by Danish authorities, but the first option, the North Sea, was a possibility that the Danish Civil Aviation Administration (Statens Luftfartsvæsen) opened, but it was rejected in 2009 by the Danish Maritime Authority (Søfartsstyrelsen). They preferred another area and then gave a formal and written permission to launch from a firing range in the Baltic Sea. Launches have been performed from a platform built for the purpose.
The first full-scale test-launch to 30 kilometres (19 mi) was planned to be off the coast of Bornholm sometime between 30 August and 13 September 2010 depending on the weather. The launch carried a crash test dummy "Rescue Randy" instead of a human pilot, since manned flight is still some years away. Success criteria was stated to be completing the sea voyage and counting down - launch and recovery being bonuses. On Tuesday 31 August 2010, the UC3 Nautilus pushed the launch platform Sputnik carrying the rocket and spacecraft from Copenhagen towards the launch area near Nexø, Bornholm. A launch attempt was made on Sunday 5 September 2010 14:43 CET, 12 UTC+02:00, but this was a failure due to a stuck LOX valve.
A test flight was attempted on 5 September 2010, using the HEAT-1X rocket. The vehicle on board launch platform Sputnik, sometimes pushed by homebuilt submarine UC3 Nautilus and sometimes towed by M/V Flora, moved from Copenhagen on Tuesday 31 August 2010 to Nexø on Wednesday 1 September 2010.
Launch was initiated Sunday 5 September 2010 from Home Guard vessel Hjortø at co-ordinates:
The oxygen tank was filled, and the rocket was nearing launch.
First attempt did not fire, attention is focused around oxygen valve and electronics. The oxygen valve jammed. It had not been tested, the previous one was stolen along with the oxygen tank at the construction yard in June 2010. The next launch attempt has been pushed to June 2011, beyond current launch window ending 17 September 2010, because the rocket might need to be taken apart to check the LOX valve, and ignition rods and LOX need to be replaced. Power to the hairdryer was supplied by Nautilus until the platform was evacuated, but the 20 minutes from then to launch drained the batteries and left the LOX valve unheated so it froze.
The new launch attempt was on 3 June 2011. Hjortø was once again used for Mission Control. The submarine was left behind as the Sputnik has been outfitted with its own diesel engines during the winter 2010-11. After again experiencing a technical problem with the auto-sequence, the rocket and spacecraft went up in the air. After lift-off, HEAT 1X Tycho Brahe achieved supersonic speed but its flight path became less vertical, so Mission Control had to shut the engine off after 21 seconds. Maximum altitude is estimated to 2.8 km and the ground track was 8.5 km. Booster and spacecraft separated but a parachute was torn off the booster due to excessive air drag. Tycho Brahe's parachutes didn't unfold correctly either, so the spacecraft received a large bulge at the 26 G impact. It is reported that it was water-filled when it was salvaged. The booster sank to a depth of 80–90 meters in the Baltic Sea A film of the launch from the pilot's point of view has been released.
In November 2010, an experimental liquid rocket engine called XLR-3B exploded during its 12th ground test. A similar liquid rocket named Tordenskjold (Thunder Shield), after the Dano–Norwegian naval hero Peter Tordenskjold, with 65 kN thrust is being constructed.
- Portal of engineering aspect articles, in Danish
- Copenhagen Suborbitals webpage
- Rumfart på den anden måde Blog of the rocket group in Danish.
- Introduction to Copenhagen Suborbitals
- TV2 sending live (Billede)
- TV2 sending live (YouTube)
- bambuser.com Video
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- Danish Manned Spacecraft Built by Volunteers Retrieved 25 August 2010
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- http://www.copenhagensuborbitals.com/boosters.php Copenhagen Suborbitals homepage. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
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- Bengtsson, Madsen, Foldager. From Copenhagen to Nexø Ing.dk, 31 August 2010. Retrieved: 2 September 2010.
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- Djursing, Thomas. Powerless hairdryer stopped rocket Ing.dk, 5 September 2010. Retrieved: 5 September 2010.
- The rocket flew, crashed and obtained valuable data Ing.dk, 3 June 2011
- The rocket dummy Randy was exposed to 26 G at the sea "landing" Ing.dk, 6 June 2011
- HEAT1X-Tycho Brahe inaugural flight / Pilot's POV. youtube.com.
- Danish Volunteers Build Manned Spacecraft Retrieved 25 August 2010
- Andersen, Kasper Brøndgaard. Liquid rocket exploded (in Danish) Ing.dk, 22 November 2010. Video Retrieved: 22 November 2010.