Saturday saw the debut launch of the Nexø I rocket, designed and built by the Copenhagen Suborbitals team. Despite an initially positive looking ascent, the 5.6 metre tall rocket lost power around 1500 metres up and fell back to Earth shortly after. Although no conclusive evidence has been produced as a cause for failure, in a statement released shortly after the event, tentative speculation pointed towards a simple LOX overload.
Copenhagen Suborbitals are a crowdfunded amateur team with big ambitions. The members of the team all have day jobs, spending their spare time on building and launching rockets. Under the leadership of von Bengtson and Madsen, the group have flown four home built rockets and two mock-up capsules. The fifty-strong team aim to one day fly a human to space aboard their planned Spica launch vehicle. Such a feat would be a historic first in amateur rocketry.
Despite this setback, it is clear to see that the rocket itself performed well initially and many positives can be taken out of the mission. The data collected will fuel improvements to the rocket before Copenhagen Suborbitals launch again, and ensure that the planned human-rated Spica rocket will have the highest safety levels possible.