Tuesday, September 30, 2003

And it almost was

MSNBC has a cool article about the drop test of Burt Rutan's entry into the XPrize. It's dubbed SPACE SHIP ONE and it could be the will be the first privately-built manned spacecraft in history.

If it doesn't auger in first. But no worries about ole Burt. If anyone can get up there, he can. He designed the first aircraft to travel around the world on one tank of gas. That's over 25,000 miles, so how hard can 50 miles be?

Oh yeah, it's STRAIGHT UP.

In other XPRIZE news, founder Peter H. Diamandis told the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that he expects that one of two teams will launch within the next few months, using rockets and spacecraft that are already being tested and prepared for the daring adventure of placing the first privately funded man in space.

The teams, already approved by the FAA, include Scaled Composites, led by aviation maverick Burt Rutan, and Armadillo Aerospace, a Dallas group headed by John Carmack, a computer game designer who made a fortune on "Doom" and "Quake."

The stated goal of X-Prize is to promote commercial human spaceflight by offering a $10 million dollar cash prize to the first privately financed and built spacecraft which carries three astronauts to 100 kilometers (62.5 miles) and returns them safely to Earth. They must then repeat the launch with the same ship within 2 weeks.

There are 23 other registered groups competing from the U.S., Russia, United Kingdom, Romania, Israel, Argentina and two from Canada.


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