The X Prize

The X Prize is a $10 million prize that is for the first private rocket to carry three people into space. For the purpose of the prize, space is defined as being 100 km (about 62 miles) above the surface which is still quite close by. Not only does the ship have to take the crew up and down safely, it has to repeat the whole process within two weeks. The point of this is to show that it is possible for a private organisation to build a reuseable launch vehicle which might lead to an explosion (sorry about the pun) in space tourism.

The latest news is that the Scaled Composities team have managed to reach an altitude of 64km (211,000ft). One of the UK's attempts in the competition is called StarChaser who had claimed that they would be about ready by 2003 but this clearly didn't happen - they currently seem to be taking their rocket on a tour of Britain. Various people say that the X Prize could be won within the next few months but I won't hold my breath just yet.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Friday 14th May 2004 (16:32 UTC) | Permalink
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