In the last couple of days there has been a bit of a storm surrounding the Danish amateur rocket group as CS founder Kristian von Bengtson announced that he is leaving Copenhagen Suborbitals following an apparent division of opinion with co-founder Peter Madsen.
Copenhagen Suborbitals posted this statement on their website:
We are sad to announce that Kristian von Bengtson, one of the two founders of Copenhagen Suborbitals is leaving the project.
Together with Peter Madsen, Kristian started the project in 2008 and has since then been working full time leading the capsule development team and mission planning. Kristian and Peter are both very strong personalities, and over the past 6 years, it has been more difficult to overcome their differences in opinion.
“Peter and I have had 6 great years – but the way I have been treated lately is simply too much and as a result of that I have now decided to leave,” says Kristian von Bengtson.
Peter Madsen recognise(es) that he is to blame for Kristian’s decision to leave Copenhagen Suborbitals: “I’m fully aware that my temper is to blame for Kristian’s exit and I’m very sorry that it has come to this.”
Kristian von Bengtson will be deeply missed by all of us and the team will continue his work – trying to reach our goal to be the first non-profit and non-governmental organisation to put a human being into space.
Neither Kristian von Bengtson nor Peter Madsen have said exactly what the argument was about, but Madsen did say in his regular article on Ingenior.dk that some tensions have apparently been building for a while before this parting of the ways and that CS now faces one of its worst crises ever as the organisation transitions to a new structure. CS recently moved to a new site that also probably adds some complications.
However, there has been a trend over the past year of KvB resigning or offloading roles onto other people as the organisation expands.
So what does this mean now for Copehagen Suborbitals as a whole?
As the english-speaking face of Copenhagen Suborbitals, Kristian von Bengtson was the face of CS outside of Denmark, writing a regular column about the progress CS was making at Wired, one of the largest technology magazines on the internet. CS has a mission of making its information publicly available, but KvB made it publicly accessible in a way that could be explained to virtually anybody and with a platform on Wired to shout from he certainly spread the message far and wide. As the man responsible for designing the capsule that CS are relying on to take a man to space his work now needs to be divided up amongst the technical members of CS.
The danger now is that CS stalls for lack of leadership and interest as the vacuum created by KvB is filled by a new organisation and new public representative.
Image: Jens Dresling