Saturday, September 12, 2009

First Romanian space rocket to be launched next month

The first Romanian space rocket, "Helen," will be launched in October on the Black Sea coast.

It will compete for a 30-million-dollar prize in the Google Lunar X Prize competition.

Helen was designed and built by the Romanian Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Association (ARCA), a non-governmental organization based in Valcea county.

Engineer Dumitru Popescu, the coordinator of the ARCA project, said: "We have done a lot of technical work for this competition and also raised funds and found sponsors."

The cost of the project has not been revealed.

The launching of the rocket will be done from a solar balloon, and it will use eco-fuel.

Helen will use a gravitational-stability method in vertical flight without aerodynamic surfaces or jet commands by towing component stages and its payload.

The Google Lunar X PRIZE is an international competition to land a robot on the surface of the Moon and have it travel 500 meters over the lunar surface and send images and data back to the Earth.

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