Watch the first test flight live this weekend of Copenhagen Suborbitals manned capsule.

Watch the first test flight live this weekend of Copenhagen Suborbitals’ manned capsule launch abort system.

If all goes as planned, the Launch Escape System will rocket [the capsule dubbed Beautiful] Betty and Randy [the crash dummy] from a seafaring launch platform, loft them to a height between 2,620 and 3,280 feet and then splash down in the Baltic Sea. At that point self-inflating bags will emerge from Betty and right the floating spacecraft.

Training space tourists for their suborbital flight

Training space tourists for their suborbital flight.

In the NASTAR Center’s Observation Lounge, trainees can watch the centrifuge through a large window, as well as see a live video feed of its rider. Meanwhile, Henwood iterates the importance of the correct timing of breaths. “If you’re going to need it, you’re going to want to do it right.” Failing to begin the manoeuvre before the onset of the g’s can result in loss of consciousness.

“You’ll tell me when to breathe?” the first flier of the course says over the intercom to Greg Kennedy, NASTAR Center’s director of educational services and the monitor of participants’ in-flight safety.

“Yes,” Kennedy says. “Are you ready for your flight?”

Fifty years ago: Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight

An evening pause: Fifty years ago today, America’s response to Gagarin and the Soviets, Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight.

Or as he said as he lifted off, “The clock has started.”

The flight actually lasted 15 minutes 22 seconds. Though only a fourth the size of Gagarin’s much bigger Vostok capsule, the Mercury capsule was steerable. During the flight Shepard adjusted the capsule’s pitch, roll, and yaw, proving that humans could pilot a spacecraft manually.