Beyond-Earth Enterprise Launches LC-Mission One
Beyond-Earth Enterprises, a Colorado Springs-based small payload sub-orbital launch company, announced its first successful launch on the Road to Space. The LC rocket reached an altitude of approximately 6000 feet at 3:30 MDT on April 17th. Total burn time for the engine was less than three seconds.
Several seconds into the flight the nose cone sheared, causing the recovery system to lock up and fail to deploy. The craft crashed on the launch range and was fully recovered.
The flight was considered a success by the Beyond-Earth team as several new technologies were proven during the flight: the fin section and motor mounts allowed the craft to fly straight and true; during the crash, LC collapsed along crumple zones as designed which minimized damage to the landing site and cargo. Even though the rocket was destroyed, more than 80% of the cargo survived.
Joe Latrell, CEO of Beyond-Earth Enterprises, says the company is highly motivated to encourage the average American to reach for space again. "We want [the public] to see that they could go to space someday--soon. This is a minor setback. We expect some things to break now-we'll learn from our mistakes. We're already working on the next launch for Memorial Day Weekend! We have a great team."
Launch Craft-Mission One (LC-MO01) carried a demonstration payload of student contest entries, stuffed animals, and coins.
About the Road to Space series-This series of rockets is to prove, over the next two years, that rockets can be at least as safe as airplanes, leading the way for Space Tourism. The next flight in the series will be May 29, 2004.
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Any heavy-lift booster based on the failed technology of the Space Shuttle will certainly be too expensive and dangerous to be the basis of a viable manned Moon or Mars program. Any short-term answer to the lift deficit should be based on the newer, cheaper technology derived from the EELV program writes Jeffrey F. Bell.