Ascension Beach, Costa Rica (IP) - Costa Rica has joined the space race in a big way after developing the largest rocket ever built by any nation.
The rocket is 647 feet in height. It is built of fortified balsa wood and cardboard with aluminum engines. The jungles of Costa Rica are rich with large stands of balsa wood trees.
Since the rocket is so light it only needs to develop 100,000 pounds of thrust to attain the orbital velocity of 17,600 mph. It can achieve escape velocity of 25,000 mph when strap on boosters are installed.
They will have the maiden launch this weekend and have invited VIP's and spectators from NASA, the European Space Agency, as well as Japanese, Chinese, French, and Russian space officials. Spectators by the millions are arriving to witness the launch.
The name of the rocket is being chosen by contestants from around the world who paid $100 each for a chance to name the rocket. The name will be picked out lottery style and will be painted on the side of the rocket one day before launch.
The first flight will place a space capsule into orbit operated by specially trained monkeys from the Costa Rican jungles. Each time the monkeys perform a task correctly they are rewarded with a candy which tastes like a banana.
Costa Rica plans to land a craft on the moon within five years and has also developed plans to land a man on the rings around Uranus within 25 years.