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Wednesday, June 23, 2004
X PRIZE Foundation Congratulates Burt Rutan, Mike Melvill, Scaled Composites and Paul Allen on Successful, History-Making Spaceflight
Competing ANSARI X PRIZE team makes milestone achievement in Mojave Desert on June 21, 2004
Los Angeles, CA (June 22, 2004) -- The X PRIZE Foundation extended congratulations to the American SpaceShipOne Team, led by Burt Rutan, on its successful June 21st manned test flight, which made its mark in history as being the first privately financed, manned ship to travel to space. The milestone is a giant step in the American SpaceShipOne Team’s plan to win the $10 million ANSARI X PRIZE Competition, created to open the space frontier for the public.
“The aim of the ANSARI X PRIZE is to change the existing paradigm that space travel is only for governments and traditional government astronauts,” says Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and Founder of the X PRIZE Foundation. “We congratulate the entire Scaled Composite team, in particular Burt Rutan and Mike Melvill for achieving this tremendous milestone. We also thank Paul Allen for his willingness to help open this critical, but risky frontier. The entire X PRIZE organization looks forward to receiving Scaled Composite’s 60-day notice indicating they are ready to make their attempt to win the $10 million purse. Once such notice is received, we will make the information publicly available.”
Before year’s end, several ANSARI X PRIZE teams are expected to make flight attempts with their 3-place spaceships. The ANSARI X PRIZE competition was inspired by the celebrated Orteig Prize won by Charles Lindbergh in 1927 for his historic flight from New York to Paris. The “new race to space” challenges today’s best and brightest entrepreneurs to create a safe, reusable, cost effective spaceship able to carry three individuals to an altitude of 100km (62 miles), bring them safely back to Earth and make the flight again within two weeks.
Scaled Composite’s SpaceShipOne flight on June 21st was not a qualifying ANSARI X PRIZE flight because it only carried the one pilot, without the weight equivalent of two other individuals. This flight was a test flight in preparation for competition flight attempts later this year.
The X PRIZE Foundation was created to help jumpstart a commercial public spaceflight industry. There is already a demonstrable consumer demand for such space tourism flight. Though early flights will carry a high price tag, the cost is expected to drop as new technology is developed and such flights become more routine. The X PRIZE Foundation is empowering entrepreneurs and visionaries worldwide to build and demonstrate different spacecraft designs to carry the rest of us into space.
About the X PRIZE Foundation
The X PRIZE Foundation is a not-for-profit educational organization, with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. The Foundation is supported by its title sponsor the Ansari Family and its Presenting Sponsor Champ Car World Series. The Foundation is also supported by private donations from the St. Louis Community through an organization called the New Spirit of St. Louis. The Foundation's mission is to create educational programming for students and space enthusiasts as well as provide incentives in the private sector to make space travel frequent and affordable for the general public. Several additional sponsorships for the ANSARI X PRIZE competition remain available to corporations or individuals who wish to support the X PRIZE and associate themselves with courage, determination, achievement, space, speed, high performance and technology.
To find out how individuals or corporations can join the efforts of the X PRIZE, or involve neighborhood schools or community centers with X PRIZE educational programs, visit www.xprize.org or contact the office at 636-519-9449.
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