UNIONVILLE, Conn. Aug. 27, 2002--The launch of the world's first amateur space rocket is less than one month away. The Civilian Space eXploration Team (CSXT), a group of space enthusiasts, has been given final clearance for a September launch by the FAA and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
"All systems are go," announced Program Manager Jerry Larson. "We're more confident than ever, after our complete system checkout and mission launch rehearsals in June. Our obstacles then were high winds and narrow launch windows. Historically, the winds are less in September. And our launch windows are now much broader. I like our odds for making history."
The PRIMERA rocket, designed and built by CSXT, is the most powerful amateur rocket ever created. Weighing 511 pounds, and 17 feet tall, the rocket will be propelled to well over Mach 5 in just 15 seconds -- breaking CSXT's previous speed record of 3,205 MPH -- and will reach space in only one minute and thirty seconds.
During atmosphere re-entry, the rocket will separate into two sections, and will be brought safely back to earth by two specially designed Rocketman parachutes. The landing point will be approximately 25 miles downrange, with a total flight time of about 10 minutes. A graphical overview of the rocket's flight into space is available on the CSXT Web site: www.civilianspace.com.
Ky Michaelson, CSXT's founder and Program Director, said, "The rocket is ready, and so are we. This is the culmination of years of work by a wonderful team." Michaelson went on to say, "Worldwide, some 25 amateur teams have been trying to reach space, but we continue to lead the way. And this flight is just the beginning. We're about to unveil a truly out-of-this world mission. Stay tuned."
The technology on board the rocket is impressive. "Our avionics system is more advanced than any system ever developed for an amateur launch," said Eric Knight, Avionics Manager and CSXT Program Co-Leader. Knight went on to say, "Our system includes multiple tracking systems and event-timing computers -- even a live color television transmitter that will broadcast throughout the flight. The images from space should be truly spectacular." Much of the avionics system is based on amateur "ham" radio technology. Knight and many of the CSXT crew are avid hams.
The rocket launch is scheduled to occur during mid-to-late September in the Nevada desert. For safety and security reasons, the FAA has requested that the exact date and location not be announced until just prior to the flight.
Media Requests & Mission Status Reports
Media requests for interviews and promotional materials should be directed to Ky Michaelson at 1-800-732-4883. Licensed video clips will be available to media outlets immediately after the conclusion of the space flight. To be on the distribution list of post-event materials, contact Ky Michaelson. Mission status reports are available on the CSXT Web site: www.civilianspace.com.