COPENHAGEN, June 3 (Xinhua) -- A homemade Danish space rocket, said to be the world's largest amateur vehicle, was launched successfully from Danish territory Friday.
The unmanned Heat 1X Tycho Brahe rocket took off from a homemade floating launchpad in the Baltic Sea, off the east coast of the Danish island of Bornholm, at 16:32 p.m local time.
The orange-and-white rocket blasted into the clear-blue spring sky before a section containing its electronic systems parachuted back to sea.
"I think we have written a small piece of history ... we have worked for three years on this," Kristian von Bengtson, one of the rocket's designers, told Danish broadcaster TV2 after the launch.
The rocket which aimed to reach a height of 15 or 16 kilometers actually flew a height of 2.8 kilometers.
"It rose a few kilometers and we heard the sound wall (sonic- boom) ... Now we are collecting sufficient data to build a better one next time," said Peter Madsen, the rocket's other designer.
"It was a fantastic flight and we have become smarter about how one launches a rocket into space ... The fact we could sea- launch a rocket was proved by us today," he told TV2.
The designers say the rocket is 500 times bigger than what amateurs normally build, and cost just 60,000 U.S. dollars to develop.
Named after a 16th-century Danish astronomer, the Heat 1X Tycho Brahe is 9.5 meters long, weighs around 1,500 kilograms, and packs 165,000 horsepower.
Mostly built of steel, the rocket is wrapped in cork which acts as a heat shield. It is not designed to be steered. It can be constructed with materials and tools available from most hardware stores, its designers say.
Friday's launch aimed to prove that such a launch could be achieved without financial backing from a major private or public organization, the designers added.
Their company, Copenhagen Suborbitals, which calls itself an open-source, non-profit organization, ultimately aims to achieve manned spaceflight using micro-size spacecraft.
The launch, which was originally scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday, was delayed as the rocket experienced niggling problems with its auto-launch sequence.
An earlier launch attempt in September 2010 failed owing to a faulty liquid oxygen valve.