Rivals eye prize in private space race

A $10 million prize for the first private company to put a craft into space may soon be won.

    Likely winner, Spaceship One, must reach an altitude of 100km

    Peter Diamandis, the Ansari X-Prize Foundation chairman, expects to pay up within five months – though the winner is likely to have spent far more on the spaceship's development.

    Speaking at the recent 41st Space Congress, held at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Wednesday, Diamandis backed aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan as the favourite to win.

    And although a total of 26 teams are competing, some have already started to look at what they might do after the main challenge has been met.
     
    Prize rules

    The competition is to place a three-person spaceship on to a suborbital trajectory - reaching an altitude of 100km - twice in two weeks.

    Burt Rutan's company, Scaled Composites, has already flown its spacecraft at altitudes exceeding 15km and at supersonic speeds. Insiders speculate he could make a suborbital flight within a few months.

    Other teams are also poised on the verge of a serious launch attempt. In particular, the Canadian Da Vinci team - which uses a balloon to help its craft reach altitude.

    Rutan may make his attempt from Mojave airport in California. The Da Vinci team has already obtained a launch licence in Canada.

    The Ansari X-Prize Foundation is looking beyond the winning of the prize and considering an annual event that could be held in Florida or New Mexico.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    This part of 'The Crusades: An Arab Perspective' explores the birth of the Muslim revival in the face of the Crusades.

    Is Mexico the most dangerous country on earth?

    Is Mexico the most dangerous country on earth?

    Or does it just suffer from the misfortune of being a neighbour of the US?

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    It's time to change the way we talk and think about Africa.