Building a Homemade Spacecraft


KRISTIAN VON BENGTSON: If we
wanted to fly into space, we could either try to
become astronauts. Like, ha ha, good luck. It is probably not
going to happen. You could also wait until maybe
Virgin Galactic finishes their project. That’s going to take
a long time. But wouldn’t it be much more fun
if you just created your own spacecraft yourself, your
own space rocket, fly into space doing that? -Go. KRISTIAN VON BENGTSON: Working
metal doesn’t sound very sexy, but it’s actually one of the
best skills that I’ve obtained through life, except sketching
and drawing. I mean, creating anything
in metal is just– there’s no limits to what
you can actually do if you have an idea. And of course, wood is nice, but
you’re not going to go far in a space rocket
made of wood. Yeah, my name is Kristian
von Bengtson. I’m a co-founder of Copenhagen
Suborbitals, a non-profit and open-source DIY space program. We’re not doing open-source
space flights at the moment. We’re not aiming for
it right now. We’re doing suborbital
space flight. That’s a parabolic flight where
you go up and down, a short trip. Copenhagen Suborbitals was
founded in 2008 by myself and my partner, Peter Madsen. I was back in Denmark after
I’ve been working at NASA Johnson Space Center. And at that time, I read in
an article that Peter was launching his first and last
submarine nautilus. And in that article, I read that
Peter had a prior history doing rocket engines, and he
wanted to work again with rocket engines. So I thought to myself,
let me talk to Peter. And I contacted him, and we
met in his submarine. And basically, within
a few hours, we decided to join forces. He would be creating the
launch vehicles. I would be creating the
space capsules. And from that moment,
actually, Copenhagen Suborbitals was founded. PETER MADSEN: My name
is Peter Madsen. I’m with Copenhagen
Suborbitals. My part of it is the rocket
engines that propel the spacecraft. And it’s also the construction
of launch pads and all the systems, essentially, that
takes the spacecraft from planet Earth and into Space. Well, I’m not obsessed. Not at all. It’s all the other people who
are obsessed with footballs and that sort of thing. I’m just doing what I’ve
always been doing. I’m playing. -[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] PETER MADSEN: This is the
TM65 rocket engine. It uses two components
for its propellants. The one is liquid oxygen. And the other is alcohol,
the same type of alcohol that we drink. But this is just slightly
more concentrated. So it’s a schnapps
locks engine. This engine really works the
same way as the engines that originally propelled the Saturn
V Rocket to the moon. It’s the same type
of technology. The difference from the Space
Shuttle main engines to this one is that while a shuttle
engine consists of literally tens of thousands of components,
this one is a couple of hundred components. All the parts that this engine
is consisting of– primarily the valves, the
actuator, the nuts and bolts, the tubes and pipes
and everything– are all the products of modern
industry, and they’re all off the shelf things. If it wasn’t used in this rocket
engine, very likely this component would have found
its way into an ordinary house for heating purposes
or the water mains used in a kitchen. It’s the sort of things that are
completely normal that we put together and turn into
a rocket engine. KRISTIAN VON BENGTSON: Using
off the shelf products that you can buy in vast numbers
are actually very reliable systems. Instead of trying to invent our
own valve, for instance, why not buy one that’s
been produced maybe a million times? When you’re working a DIY
project, the natural premise is that you don’t have much. You don’t have much
money, funding. You don’t have, maybe, all the
technology like the pro guys, or the materials. And then you have to come
up with solutions. And that sparks a lot of new
technology, new ideas. And sometimes it also takes the
solution that you would normally do– very expensive, very complex
in the professional world– and bring it down to a level
and show people that it’s actually possible
to do the same– come up with same solution
for less money. The first rocket we tried to
launch, it contained a hair dryer to keep one of the
valves heated up so it wouldn’t freeze up. It was actually a
great solution. PETER MADSEN: We have left the
workshop now, and we have walked about 100 meters to one
of the two test stands. And what we have is
a steel gantry. And up there, a room for the the
four 16 millimeter bolts that keep the engine in place. And we have a crane that we
use to hoist it up there. And on top of this steel
structure, we have the propellant tanks of, totally,
700 kilos of propellant that the engine consumes in
about 15 seconds. [APPLAUSE] KRISTIAN VON BENGTSON: Launching
rockets is actually like anything else
we’re doing here. It’s tests of different
systems. We have to prove to ourselves
that we are capable of handling different
technologies. -[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] KRISTIAN VON BENGTSON: There’s
always certain things we are testing on. So it’s all a part of the big
puzzle ending up for a big rocket with a capsule on top. And of course, we’re going
to do more launches. PETER MADSEN: We are aiming
for a manned mission. But of course, we are only
flying the big rockets with a crash test dummy inside. We’re not going to be flying
any persons, any live human being, until we believe
that it’s fairly safe. KRISTIAN VON BENGTSON: This
is is our space capsule, Beautiful Betty. And it’s the first prototype of
this kind of capsule-type space vehicle for one person. Most of this– the capsule– I welded myself. But I did the sign– and some of the interior
welding– I did with a guy called Klaus. He’s my partner in doing
these capsules here. And we’re also together
developing the new capsule. It was tested about
two months ago. It got pretty roughed up. But it’s still here. And we can still do
a lot of tests. And it’s a foundation of all the
new capsules we’re going to do in the future. Well, Randy, the crash
test dummy, was inside this capsule. And, well, he lost a leg. It’s possible, actually, that
he would have survived, only because of the direction
that it hit water. But he might be in a wheelchair
forever if it was a live person. Randy has been a good
friend of ours. He’s been flying for
the last two years. So every time we have a capsule
or a spaceship, he’s going to be in the
seat, and he’s going to take the beating. That’s why you have a
crash test dummy. Keeping one person alive, even
only for a 15 minute ride, is a big challenge. You need to create a reliable
piece of confined room, confined space for one person,
where you have a small seat, where you’re comfortable but
also work with all the acceleration from launching
the rocket but also when landing on sea. This is where you’re going to
be, and this is where you’re actually going to experience
this incredible ride, where you’re going to feel
the rocket lifting you away from Earth. And it’s going to be so fast. And eventually, you’re
going to see Earth turning around out here. And it’s just an amazing
feeling, actually, just to have those thoughts. When the US, they launched the
first astronaut, Alan Shepard, the whole countdown actually
stopped because the engineers suddenly became scared. They realized they had
a person inside. And they weren’t really prepared
mentally for that. So the countdown stopped
until Alan Shepard– he told them “light
the candle”– his famous words. -Lift off. ALAN SHEPARD: All
right, there. Lift off, and the clock
has started. KRISTIAN VON BENGTSON: An
organization like this– I don’t know what’s going to
happen when everybody had a part in it, and they suddenly
understand that this– what they did– if it doesn’t work, it will
have a fatal outcome. Or maybe it’s not going
to be a problem. Maybe everybody’s just going
to find it exhilarating. PETER MADSEN: It doesn’t take
much courage to climb on board a rocket and have the hatch
sealed and somebody light it, because it either works
or it doesn’t work. And if it doesn’t work, the
period of time you’d have to realize that is usually
very short. But it takes a lot
of courage– it takes an unimaginable
amount of courage– to be the ground crew, to be the
commanders on the ground, to make the decision, let’s
launch this thing and see if it works. And Kristian is one of the few
people that I’ve ever met who is courageous enough
to do such a thing. -T-minus 10, 9, 8, 7,
6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. KRISTIAN VON BENGTSON: Human
space flight has always had this holy grail kind of
sphere around it. It’s supposed to be expensive. It’s supposed to be
very complex. So you just completely just
forget the notion or the idea let’s try and build our
own space rocket. People just don’t want
to touch it. But I hope we can inspire people
that space rocket, you can actually build
it yourself. If there should be some kind
of legacy from what we are doing here on this DIY project,
that should be showing the world that human
space flight can actually be done on a completely different
scale, on a completely different level, with very
simple technology. You’re welcome to come
and join us. You’re also welcome to come here
with a measuring tape and your camera. Take all the pictures or
download all of the images and sketches from our blog and just,
you know, copy the work or go from there from
what we’re doing. Basically, everybody can do this
if they want to do it. [MUSIC PLAYING]

100 thoughts on “Building a Homemade Spacecraft

  1. I think if it's possible to make it fly twice higher, the parashute will open in good time, when it falls…

    By the way, I didn't see if the dolls had belts on

  2. Didn't this guy just get done for murdering some bird on one of his home made subs. Chopped her up and all sorts. Weirdo that Peter madsen. Sure it's him. Google it. Kim Wall her name.

  3. Also don’t forget the high level of radiation out in space and how hot it is to pass the atmosphere, it’s too hot there so need to make it very resistant, also 15 seconds of propulsion in the rocket engine won’t be enough no get it to space, need to make it at a higher scale and good luck I hope you ideas grow up, I’m 14 and I want to make my own designs of rockets when I grow up

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  5. Peter Madsen has been convicted of killing the swedish journalist Kim Wall in that same submarine not long ago. Its been all over Danish news

  6. Wish them luck. now in the future, they are still developing and have made some big strides. Although a lot is still ahead. To think since this video the popularity of commercial rockets has gone up magnitudes, hell they didn't even mention SpaceX, arguable the most successful of them. Virgin started strong and here we are, 1 successful sonic test complete by them.

  7. I don't think madsen will be making any rockets, he chopped up a woman, dumped her body and pretended like she died in a submarine accident. https://www.nrk.no/urix/madsen-innrommer-a-ha-partert-kim-wall-1.13756522

  8. Dudes this video is stellar!! Exactly what I want to do!!!
    I wanna move to another planet and away from all the assholes on earth!!!

  9. so one of those two guys just got sentenced for killing and dismembering a female reporter in his submarine

  10. I’m hoping for a future where rockets are as common as pickup trucks.
    Anyone can own one and tinker on it themselves.

  11. Hey, isn't this the murderer Peter Madsen?
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/25/peter-madsen-sentenced-life-murdering-kim-wall-submarine

  12. Ok this is awesome but the capsule been under the rocket is more likely goin to destabilize the rocket itself! In space the temperature can be very very hot and by putting the capsule under the engine you are already exposing it to more heat and there is more possibilities for something to go wrong. I hope more people get inspire by this but make sure everybody is safe!

  13. Oh year your partner Peter Madsen – I see him in the news, convicted of raping, killing and molesting a young swedish jounalist. Nice partner bro. Bad karma man…

  14. although i hope he would succeed in building the rocket, but the possibility is rather low. Since this is literary rocket science.

  15. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-denmark-submarine/danish-inventor-gets-life-for-gory-murder-of-journalist-on-his-submarine-idUSKBN1HW1EC

  16. 😚Hmmmm

    Something about bald men ….makes you want to rub your hands on his head….😊🙂

    🤭Ope.

    I mean….

    N-e-v-e-r mind🤭😇

  17. ok so this guy peter madsen is a submarene worker…
    whats so special abut that you may ask?
    whell this guy did subarene tour (not saying it s this guy but it looks like him with the same name) and one day he took a girl a jornalist who he murdered and cut into peaces and the he sunk his subamrene and it was found by a police dog………….

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  19. I want to build a rocket run away
    Far from earth as possible
    And I don't care if it takes my life
    I'm am not going to die here

  20. So, they are still working and launching an actually manned suborbital. Getting to space takes a lot longer than I thought it would. Oh well give it another ten years and I'm sure we'll get somewhere.

  21. My question would be; did you know your partner was a narcissistic sociopath, I mean were there any indications that he had some severe behavioral flaws? Creepy. On a lighter note was on their website, definite innovators.

  22. One of my shots of the TM65 engine tests at 06:57 was used in this film without my written consent, not am I being credited for this footage. My clip has been licensed for use by Copenhagen Suborbitals alone – not a third party.

  23. How the hell did things jump from “DIY space program” to “gruesome murder on a private submarine?” It’s like the universe felt that there wasn’t enough insane shit in the world these days.

  24. I wonder if he will release blueprints for these rockets. I’d love to see if I could love to understand what makes them tick. If these guys are looking through the comments I’d like an apprenticeship.

  25. Space is more than building a rocket, don’t kid yourselves. Space exploration is an intersection of many fields of knowledge, propulsion is exciting but just one part of a space program. There is just so many pieces that need to fall in place to put a human in space. You will have to hire a lot more professional people to achieve this.Otherwise you will go insane as evidently Peter Madsen did. RIP Kim Wall.

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