Copenhagen Suborbitals Drop Test Deploys DIY Parachute


Without the slider, the Tycho parachute deployed flawlessly (Credits: Morten Bulskov).

On March 17, Copenhagen Suborbitals performed the first drop tests on their main parachute for space capsule Tycho Deep Space. Although limited in height, the test was deemed a success.

The drop occurred from a gantry crane providing an 89 meter drop. The distance was long enough to test the parachute packing and deployment configuration. It was not quite long enough to test the slider mechanism, used to control the canopy opening shock.

The parachute, like the rest of Tycho, is a do it yourself construction of Copenhagen Suborbitals, co-founded by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen. They founded the company in 2008 with the goal of launching themselves into space. Subtitled “Absolutely No Rights Reserved,” the organizations aims to demonstrate an open-source non-profit alternative to the big government approach to space flight. The duo now have dozens of hardware tests under their belts and assistance from local volunteers and donors forwarding their vision.

Copenhagen Suborbitals plans to conduct further tests to validate the parachute slider mechanism, possibly via airplane deployment. An von Bengtson noted in his account of the test “If the sliders seems to be working ‘fine’ on ground the plan is to push [parachute advisor] Mads Stenfatt out of a plane with our parachute.”

The video below is a TED talk Kristian von Bengston delivered in 2010 about Copenhagen Suborbitals:



About the author

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.

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