Marvyn Lim Seng, leader of the GoSpace.sg project and founder of IN.Genius, has been trying to send the first Singaporean into space for several years.
GoSpace.sg, the project to bring the first Singaporean to the edge of space, has been in development since 2013.
On May 31, 5.15 am (Singapore time) , Lim once again attempted Singapore's maiden journey into space from Alice Springs, Australia.
This time, Lim decided to send himself.
The objective was to cross the Armstrong line in Quantum 1, Singapore’s first space capsule, using the same high-altitude stratospheric balloons deployed by NASA and Russia for space missions.
The Armstrong line is 20km above sea level.
During take-off, a sudden dip in the capsule as the strato-balloon disengaged from the launch crane resulted in ground impact that compromised the integrity of the capsule.
This resulted in the depressurisation of the capsule.
Put simply, this means that gas that was needed to sustain the survival of the occupant was escaping.
Therefore, the mission had to be aborted 19 minutes after steady ascent attaining over 24,000 feet (7.31 km).
Fortunately, Lim landed smoothly approximately 25 km northwest of the launch point. He was uninjured.
The journey continues
After being picked up by a rescue helicopter, Lim apologised that the project failed to get a Singaporean up in space.
However, Lim said that he is "tremendously pleased" with the independent leadership of the team. He added that their mission to send a Singaporean into space continues:
“We’re sorry that we didn’t manage to get the first Singaporean into space for our country. However, I am tremendously pleased with the team for exercising independent leadership. Ultimately, the attempt is more significant than the outcome. Our journey continues.”
The first launch attempt scheduled for 2015 during Singapore’s SG50 celebrations ran into delays, due to a missing component that was a controlled military grade item.
In 2018, the planned launch was postponed due to adverse wind conditions that reached more than 245 km/hr along the flight path.
The strong winds would have put the astronaut manning the capsule in grave danger, and hence, the project was pushed back for another year.
In their previous statement, GoSpace.sg highlighted safety as a top priority in their project:
"As professionals in this space, we must get everything technically ready and operationally we have to wait for the right window. We must not be governed by the clock and must always be focused on flight safety."
Top image courtesy of IN.Genius