The launch into space of the first Romanian rocket has been rescheduled for 2010 after having postponed it several times, due to unfavourable weather conditions, according to a Romanian Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Association (ARCA) report.
"The Saturday operation was a test and the experience will help us greatly in the final flight. We would have wished to go through this time with all the set launching decisions. The cause was determined by very powerful water currents who twisted the balloon, stopping the inflating process. ARCA team with the help of military divers restored the balloon in correct position and the inflating operation was resumed. This action has had a length over time, in which it was lost the solar radiation intensity required for heating the air inside", ARCA explained.
The launch of rocket Helen, which has to be initially toed by a solar balloon, the biggest solar balloon in the world with a volume equivalent with ten blocks of flats each with 20 levels, involves an extremely complex set of procedures and operations.
The event was scheduled to last for two hours, during which the solar balloon would have been inflated with hot air and would have risen to an altitude of 14,000 meters.
This operation is followed by the initiation of rocket Helen's engines, which would propel it to the suborbital level. Recovering the module from the Black Sea will be the final phase of the test. The rocket is equipped with radio and satellite tracking devices and a recording camera. It will return to the Black Sea by parachuting.
Rocket Helen is toed into air by the biggest hot air solar balloon worldwide and uses an innovative stabilising system. This is one of the most complex missions to unfold in the aero-spatial domain ever. Over 95% of the equipment used to build the rocket is made-in-Romania. The electronic parts have been imported.
ARCA is a non-governmental organisation, national leader in the aero-spatial research area. In 2008, ARCA teams up with Google in the Google Lunar X Prize competition, which is to offer an award worth of 30 million dollars to the first team that sends a robot on the Moon.