By Allan Povah
As the Tolga spaceport nears completion, an ambitious program of testing has commenced, starting with the launch last night of the aptly named Tropic Thorpie 1 rocket.
The 300 metre long triple-tempered carbon-fibre rocket, which was 3D printed by Kwik Copy on Lake Street in Cairns, was trucked up the Gillies Highway on Saturday to Tolga and mounted onto the number 37 launch pad.
After a series of exhaustive cross-checks and calibrations, the TT1 leaped to an altitude of just over one hundred kilometers, before breaching the atmosphere, and landing feet-first on the recovery platform on Lake Quaid.
Mission director, Dr Archie Fullerton-Smith was pleased with the result. “This is the first Southern Hemisphere launch, reentry and landing of a carbon-fibre rocket,” he claimed. And the first landing of any rocket returning from space onto a manmade lake. It’s an historic day.”
Tolga residents were initially startled and confused by the noise and rumbling associated with the launch, especially as it occurred as Home and Away was going to air, but the mood around the town today was one of relief.”
“It was a great result last night,” said popular local hairdresser, Merrelyn Swain. “It looks like Baby Luc is going to survive and Raffy has just got a lead on Brody’s whereabouts. So thankful.”
The Tolga Space Corporation is planning two to three test launches per week through the dry season, with an aim to send a manned mission to Mercury by 2021. In further news, the Plain Dealer has learned that next week Brody apologises to Alf and Tori will feel awkward around Ash due to an accidental fantasy about him. More to follow.