World's First Amateur Space Rocket Cleared for
Launch by U.S. Government.
August 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
"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
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