Space: Romania shall conquer the moon
19 October 2009
On the front page of its Sunday edition, Evenimentul Zilei proudly announces the "First ever fully Romanian space test flight." The report in the Bucharest daily recounts "the saga of the Helen aerospace project," the brainchild of "eight engineers obsessed by a dream," which will now see the light of day thanks to Google. In 2007, the Internet giant launched the Google Lunar X Prize, an international aeronautics competition to send a robot with the capacity to send back images and data and to travel across at least 500 metres of lunar surface to the moon. As EVZ explains, 23 teams are now competing for the 20-million-dollar prize for the first group to complete the mission.
The "Helen" rocket – a chesspiece shaped modular design created by the Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association (ARCA) – is now ready for take off, and will shortly be launched from a platform in the Black Sea. The rocket will be carried to a height of 14 kilometres inside a solar balloon, before it fires up its eco-friendly hydrogen-peroxide fuelled engine to head out into space.