Meet Copenhagen Suborbitals (CS), the small Danish organization with a big dream – launching a human being into space, and returning them safely to Earth in a shoestring-budget micro rocket. The CS website conveys a simple mission statement, to prove that access to space does not have to come in the form of an exorbitantly expensive government-subsidized project. CS is proving that a driven group of individuals can achieve what would at first glance appear to be the unachievable, and strike a blow for the democratization of space.
The list of spacefaring nations remains small, but thanks to continuing advances in technology that promise to reduce the financial and logistical hurdles involved, the numbers are set to increase. One country that could be joining the club, if the University of Queensland (UQ) and Heliaq Advanced Engineering get their way, is Australia. The two are teaming up on a project intended to deliver payloads weighing from 50 to 500 kg (110 to 1,102 lb) into orbit.
NASA's imaginatively-named Space Launch System (SLS), has entered its critical design
review phase, which will see the leviathan rocket given the go-ahead
for full-scale construction. The review represents a major milestone
that must be passed with flying colors if the SLS is to make its
intended maiden launch date, which is currently slated for 2017.