Copenhagen Suborbitals, a DIY spaceflight program held tests of their “Beautiful Betty” (formerly named Tycho Deep Space) capsule and Launch Escape System(LES) this morning(4am EST). The purpose of a Launch Escape System is to propel the capsule away from the main rocket in case of an emergency.
The test was an over all succes with the LES igniting properly taking the capsule to about 3000 ft where the two seperated and the two parachuted safely to the water. However, there were some stabilization issues causing the capsule to tumble and strike the water faster than expected and sustain some damage. The capsule remained intact with no water breaches but Copenhagen Suborbitals still needs to analyze the accelerometer data to see if a human could have survived the launch.
Update: As you can see from the live capture above the balloon uprighting system also failed to deploy and they had to re-right the capsule manually.
Update2: Helicopter video footage of the launch clearly shows the tumble and the parachutes not fully deploying.
Update3: more footage
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