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Wednesday, May 26, 2004
New Mexico gets space shot inquiries
Three crews that are competing to be the first private team to launch a reusable launch vehicle into space have inquired about being able to launch their vehicles from New Mexico, New Mexico Economic Development Department Rick Homans said Wednesday.
The inquires have come from teams that are competing for the X PRIZE, a $10 million award that will be given to the first private team that can put a reusable launch vehicle 62.5 miles into space, return it and its crew safely to earth, and repeat the launch within two weeks. So far, 26 teams from seven nations are competing for the X PRIZE.Homans said the launch inquiries came quickly after May 11, when the St. Louis-based X PRIZE Foundation announced that New Mexico had won the competition to host the X PRIZE Cup, an annual, two-week-long space show that is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to the state. New Mexico beat out Florida for the event.
"Three of the contestants for the X PRIZE have contacted us about the possibility of doing their launches in New Mexico," Homans said. "That does not mean that those launches will come to pass, but these are the kind of calls we welcome."
Promoters of the X PRIZE Cup are hoping it will be the space equivalent of the Oshkosh Air Show, which is held every year in Oshkosh, WI. They say it could be a huge tourist draw to the state.
The first X PRIZE Cup will be held at White Sands Missile Range in the summer of 2005. Gov. Bill Richardson's administration has set aside $9 million to help build the infrastructure for the first show. It hopes that within two or three years the event will be held at a commercial spaceport that the state is hoping to build north of Las Cruces. Read More
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