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The X PRIZE Foundation Newsletter – August 03, 2004



Visit for daily updated or archived ANSARI X PRIZE Space Race news.



Dear ANSARI X PRIZE Supporters,

Eight years ago, the X PRIZE Foundation stated its lofty view of the future for private space travel: groups of entrepreneurs from all over the world would be competing for a $10 million purse, with the hope of kicking off an entirely new industry to be called "space tourism". That vision has come into sharp focus in recent weeks, as 26 X PRIZE teams from 7 countries work toward implementing an assortment of business models for privately-funded, manned launches over the coming months.

In just this one week alone, we've gotten firm launch dates from one team, a vehicle rollout announcement from another, a brand new X PRIZE website, and media interest from literally all around the planet. Most exciting is this week's news that it's "T-Minus 60 Days" for the first X PRIZE attempts, with other teams following in close pursuit.

The "Race is On" for the ANSARI X PRIZE, and the world is watching!

Best wishes,

Peter H. Diamandis


GO FOR LAUNCH! X PRIZE Foundation Announced Teams Ready to Compete for $10 Million

L-R: Peter Diamandis, Brian Feeney, Rick Searfoss, Burt Rutan,
Amir Ansari and David Moore

On July 26th, the X PRIZE Foundation announced key next steps by two of its top competitors for the ANSARI X PRIZE. Burt Rutan, of the American Mojave Aerospace Ventures, LLC Team, announced that it has given its official 60-day notice and has scheduled its first competition flight on September 29th, 2004 in Mojave, California. In addition, Brian Feeney, of the Canadian da Vinci Project Team, announced that team’s plans to roll-out its completed Wild Fire Spacecraft on Thursday, August 5th, 2004 at its Downsview Airport hangar in Toronto in preparation for space flight attempts this fall. Also introduced to supporters and press were Amir Ansari, representing the Ansari family, the benefactors who titled the ANSARI X PRIZE, and Astronaut Rick Searfoss, the Chief Judge of the competition. The announcements took place at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport in Santa Monica, California, at 10:30am PST. “Eight years ago, under the Arch in St. Louis, we kicked off the X PRIZE competition. Today I’m pleased to announce that the first team is ready to make an attempt to claim the $10 million, with other teams close behind,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and Founder of the X PRIZE Foundation. For the full press release, click here.

Watch the Historic ANSARI X PRIZE Launches in Person In Mojave!

If you'd like to witness history in the making, make your plans now to come to Mojave, CA to watch the launches live and in person. There is limited ticket availability for the September 29 through October 13 attempts at claiming the ANSARI X PRIZE. The options are for General Parking, Preferred Parking, as well as RV- and Bus-Parking, and tickets are actually parking passes good for all launch attempts at MHV. Tickets are available exclusively through the X PRIZE website at


We are glad to announce that several unique items, including 2 VIP Passes to our special viewing program at the SpaceShipOne launches, are now available on eBay. Other items planned for auction include rocket sculptures by Erik Lindbergh, autographed posters, and a trip to the edge of space in a (former) Soviet MIG fighter jet. Bid now on the current auction items here [link] and check back regularly for more! Proceeds from these fundraising efforts help keep the fuel in our engines, and all of us on a trajectory to space.

To visit the EBAY auction click here

Attempts to Win $10 Million ANSARI X PRIZE to be Webcast Live!

The X PRIZE Foundation announced that it has secured Dan Rayburn to produce a series of live webcasts of the X PRIZE competition fights. On-site webcast production teams will provide two 3-hour live webcasts as SpaceShipOne attempts to claim the $10 million ANSARI X PRIZE, so that viewers all over the world can witness history in the making. "It is quite rare for the content of a webcast to have the real potential to impact so many people's lives like the possibility of private spaceflight. When I heard what the X PRIZE was about, I instantly wanted to support this project and use it to showcase some of the latest streaming media technology", said Dan of his special assignment. Keep checking the X PRIZE website over the next few weeks for more details.

X PRIZE "Launches" New Web Site

New York and UK based multimedia design firm "themechansim" and DEEPBLU Studios rolled out the new ANSARI X PRIZE web site this week, to coincide with the Press Conference/Launch Announcements. Over the last four months, the creative team--headed by Dave Fletcher and Amye Rita Osti (of DEEPBLU Studios)--worked closely with the volunteers from the X PRIZE Foundation in an effort to refocus the visual continuity, navigation and appearance of the site.  Visitors to the new site--same address at will also find it better suited to serve the coordinated efforts required for future launches and updates.  For the "techies":  The new site is driven by a unique xml-driven Macromedia Flash-based system which collectively informs a flash ticker, navigation, teams scroller and a large promotion/photography window. themechanism launched the original X PRIZE website in 2002. and



The Demonstrator 2B launch scheduled for July was delayed until August because discussions with licensing authorities took longer than expected. The launch site will be a military range whose location is not yet established, but the discussions indicated two possibilities: one at the Black Sea shore and other in the South of Romania. Both sites are suitable for Demonstrator 2B launch.

The engine of the Demonstrator 2B was mounted on the rocket structure at the beginning of July. This is the world’s first composite materials reusable monopropellant rocket engine, and it’s already completed over 20 ground tests.

Canadian Arrow

Geoff Sheerin and his Team continue to make successful flight qualification tests of the main, full-scale LOX/Alcohol-fueled V2 reproduction engine. Over the last two weeks, the Team has made three firings with burn lengths over half the time required for its ANSARI X PRIZE flight profile. Next on the testing agenda will be to run a series of full-duration burns by mid August.

Starchaser Industries

Starchaser Industries continues to make steady progress on the development of  its Churchill Mk III 15 tonne (33,000 lb) thrust liquid propellant engine. The combustion chamber and engine bell are now complete, and work is now focused on the construction of the cooling jacket and the 1000-hole injector plate. Static testing of the prototype engine is scheduled to take place before the end of the year, with full-burn dual engine tests beginning in 2005. Meanwhile, Starchaser’s "Educational Outreach Programme" connected with over 45,000 school children over the months of June and July as the Nova rocket visited schools on an almost daily basis. The company’s goal is to deliver a quality educational experience to some half a million young people at 450 venues during the 2004 / 2005 academic period.  On the financial side, Starrchaser’s legal team is finalizing the company’s share prospectus that will place 25% of the company on the market as a Public Limited Company.


HARC is flying and testing subscale versions of its ANSARI X PRIZE "Liberator" from its Alabama test range.  The latest nozzle design is performing flawlessly as the team tests for various aerodynamic performance and recovery limits of the Liberator capsule, and HARC is continuing with the construction of full-scale stand-alone capsule systems.  The Team has also begun work on the electronics and controls that will be used in the full-scale Liberator capsule. On the lighter side of rocketry: Tim Pickens, HARC’s Team Leader, and his daughter, Sarah, have been test-driving their rocket-powered bicycles again to the delight of local spectators--a video is available at their website

Space Transport Corporation (STC)

Space Transport has recently launched a two-stage test rocket to 17 kilometers (56,000 feet), carrying a camera in its two-pound payload. The Washington-based Team is now working towards a three-stage rocket flight to 60 kilometers (200,000 feet). These two- and three-stage test rockets are being used to gather data for the ANSARI X PRIZE "Rubicon" vehicle, as they will provide information about aerodynamic and thermal issues that will be encountered on the full-scale, manned vehicle. STC plans call for Rubicon to make its maiden voyage in early August as a low-altitude flight to test for vibration, ocean recovery, engine thrust offset, etc. Pending successful test flights and launch license application, STC believes that manned Rubicon flights could take place by October.

Bristol Spaceplanes Limited

Bristol Spaceplanes Limited displayed a model of its “Ascender Spaceplane” at the recent Farnsborough Air Show from July 19 to 23, where almost a quarter million visitors viewed the displays of over 1400 exhibitors. The Ascender Spaceplane model generated considerable interest among Farnsborough visitors, and the Bristol Team hopes to convert this interest into backing for further development. Team Bristol also recently completed an updated feasibility study of their ANSARI X PRIZE entry.

Vanguard Spacecraft

Steven McGrath, Team Leader, announces an alliance with William N. Jones, an individual who has been active for 15 years in the space industry testing hardware and cryogenic systems. Currently President and Principal Consultant for ROCKETest Consulting Inc. in Boston,  Mr. Jones has had significant involvement with such prominent rocket and space programs as Delta II, Delta III, Titan IV, X-30, DC-X Delta Clipper, and the  International Space Station.

Israeli IL Aerospace Technologies (ILAT)

A new book by author Danny Shalom entitled “Above the Horizon, 50 Years of Israeli Activity in Space” chronicles the history of Israel’s space programs from the first rocket launch in 1953 to the Colombia Shuttle disaster in 2003.  Included in the book is a tribute to Israeli Astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon, as well as a section discussing the future of Israel’s activities in space.  IL Aerospace Technologies (ILAT), a registered Team in the ANSARI X PRIZE competition, is noted by the author for its role in the future of Israeli space travel and exploration.  Oded Loebl, VP of Operations at ILAT, said The brilliance of the ANSARI X PRIZE competition is that it inspires history to be made while the world enthusiastically looks on, and documents it. It is truly a unique opportunity to be involved in the making of new era in aviation/space.”

Suborbital Corp.

At the world exhibition EXPO-2005, the Russian Suborbital Corp. team will display a model of their sub-orbital tourist ship "Cosmopolis XXI ".The first flight of this rocket glider may take place at the beginning of 2005. A (passenger) ticket will cost about $100,000, or 200 times less than first space tourist Dennis Tito paid for his flight on the International Space Station," a team spokesman told the agency.  The ship will be mounted on the fuselage of the M-55 Geofizika aircraft which will raise the C-XXI to the height of 17 kilometers. At the speed of 750 kilometers per hour the rocket glider will be undocked from the aircraft, then will switch on its hypersonic engines and start its independent flight towards the lower border of space.

American Interorbital Systems (IOS)

IOS has begun the licensing process for its NANO SLV orbital launch vehicle. This rocket, which will serve as a technology demonstrator of IOS' orbital launch capability, is designed to loft 10-pound payloads to low earth orbit. The NANO SLV will also serve as a test bed to flight-test guidance, telemetry,

and recovery systems for the "Neptune", IOS' manned, medium-lift, two-stage orbital rocket. The Neptune consists of a booster and the eight-passenger "Solaris" orbiter stage, the combination of which is slated for manned launches in 2005.


New Staffers Join X PRIZE Efforts

ALICIA BLACK comes to X PRIZE directly from the world of large-scale concert and event production, with years of experience under her belt in all phases of field production. As Production Assistant, Alicia will be working with Sam Francis in the X PRIZE Hollywood office in preparation for the upcoming launch events.

JENNIFER COHEN, originally from Pennsylvania, has built a solid career in case management, social outreach and volunteer recruitment. Her "Toys for Homeless Children" program at BWR remains in effect to this day. As the new Volunteer Recruiter/Trainer, Jennifer will also work in the Hollywood production office.

WES NICHOLS joins X PRIZE Foundation as Director of Business Development with special emphasis on Sponsorship Support.  Wes will be accountable for the customer service for X PRIZE VIP’s and Sponsors and will play a key role with VIP hospitality sales.  He brings to X PRIZE Foundation a background in business development roles with ESPN and FOX Sports Interactive Media. 

Support Private Space Travel: Become an X PRIZE Member!

The X PRIZE Foundation is dedicated to making it possible for YOU to fly into space. We have already inspired a wave of private spaceships through the generous support of the people who want to go. However, our work is not finished. While private spaceships are now flying, we must continue our efforts to open space to the public. Become a member of the X PRIZE Foundation with your gift of $20 or more and watch your name soar into space! You will also receive our new beautiful and personalized electronic membership certificate, suitable for framing.

Member Profile:

Nick Simpson, 25 – Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student 

“The dream of advancing into space, and realizing the future presented in science fiction, has always been a hope for my lifetime.  Supporting X PRIZE is a way for me to be a part of this moment in history.”

Like many people associated with the X PRIZE Foundation, Nick’s interest in space was inspired by science fiction’s great writers, and the adventure of exploration promised by the stars. Nick recently became a Foundation member, saying, “Without the X PRIZE, we’d definitely be moving much more slowly towards space. It’s important that someone kick-start this industry. In many ways, the private sector can serve the needs and wants of people more efficiently than the government, and people want to go to space. "

Please click here to learn more about membership.

Learn more about X PRIZE and its history from the Executive Director

Gregg Maryniak, X PRIZE Foundation Executive Director, wrote a paper for the CATO Institute that focuses on the comparison of the progress of human spaceflight with the early history of aviation. As Gregg found out, “It turns out that pre WW1 aviation had several distinct phases...and a huge renaissance around 1911 or so which was largely driven by prizes.  We had known about the big newspaper prizes (like the Orteig Prize after which the X PRIZE is modeled) but I was amazed to learn just how pervasive, well-funded and audacious prizes were in that period” Gregg later gave a presentation on the subject, which you can watch online at:

The X PRIZE Foundation wishes to thank our Title Sponsor the ANSARI FAMILY and our Presenting Sponsor CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES. You can view Champ Car's site at
The mission of the non-profit X PRIZE Foundation is to create a future in which the general public will personally participate in space travel and its benefits. But all of this requires an investment. Be a part of history. Give to the X PRIZE.
CLICK HERE to Become a General Member for the low cost of $20
CLICK HERE to Become a Senior Associate.
CLICK HERE to help the X PRIZE via a secure donation to PayPal!

Best Wishes!

Dr. Peter H. Diamandis

Mr. Gregg E. Maryniak
Executive Director

Mr. David Treinis
Executive Vice President for Team Relations

Angel Panlasigui
Newsletter Editor

The mission of the non-profit X PRIZE Foundation is to create a future in which the general public will personally participate in space travel and its benefits. But all of this requires an investment. Be a part of history. Give to the X PRIZE.
CLICK HERE to Become a General Member for the low cost of $20
CLICK HERE to Become a Senior Associate.
CLICK HERE to help the X PRIZE via a secure donation to PayPal!

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