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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Space Transport Corporation News:
chabot imageSTC met with all active X Prize teams in Los Angeles the weekend of April 17th.
Getting to meet the X Prize competition first-hand confirmed some assumptions STC had previously made and led to some new insights. All teams presented their project status in the conference.
Many teams are focused on public relations, with the idea that they need to raise public interest in order to fund their projects. STC is taking a different approach -- raise interest by testing hardware. Either approach is reasonable, but it appears that these “PR-focused” teams will not be able to have functional vehicles in time to win the X Prize.
Besides STC, only a few other teams are actively building hardware. Of those teams, it seems that Scaled is the only team on track to possibly win the prize. The others seem to have significant unresolved technical challenges in front of them. However, it seems that Scaled also has some challenge left -- they are by no means sure that they will win the prize in 2004.
The door is open for an underdog like STC. Of course, development must go smoothly, and we will have to raise the required funds. Other teams probably question our ability to win the prize because the funding issue is in the air. However, with a solid fundraising effort such as we are now commencing, STC can raise the necessary capital.
After the conference, STC visited Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's aerospace department. They are a potential customer for N-SOLV. We learned a lot about their needs and about our Russian competition. The multi-university satellite program that Cal Poly leads would buy three N-SOLV launches per year. Low cost and convenience make N-SOLV attractive to them.
A three-stage rocket launch is upcoming and hopefully will result in some cool photography. Stay tuned.


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