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World's First Independent Manned Space Launch From Saskatchewan - Saskatchewan, May 13, 2003 Saskatchewan will host the world's first independent manned space launch, says the head of the da Vinci project.

"This project is another example of mankind pushing the envelope, and at the same time, putting Canada and Saskatchewan on the manned space-exploration map," Project Leader and Astronaut for the da Vinci Project Brian Feeney said."We are very proud to announce that Kindersley, Saskatchewan will be the site of this space milestone."

The da Vinci project is one of 23 competitors for the X-Prize, a foundation providing a $10 million U.S. prize to the first group that launches a manned reusable space capsule 100 kilometers into space, twice within a two-week timeframe.

"The government of Saskatchewan is very excited about the prospect of our province hosting the world's first-ever independent manned space launch," Highways and Transportation Minister Mark Wartman said. "Our future is wide open in Saskatchewan, and this project emphasizes our commitment to innovation, technology and embracing the future."

The launch will utilize the world's largest reusable helium balloon, with the spacecraft tethered at an angle 200 meters below. The balloon will rise to a height of 80,000 feet for launch. At launch, the tethers release and the rocket powers up to an estimated 120 kilometres – and into history.

The recoverable balloon, power stage and capsule all have parachute landing systems, as well as inflatable cushioned landing ballutes.

The precise launch date will be detailed later in 2003. Details of the project can be found on the website, at www.davinciproject.com.

For more information about the da Vinci Project or Saskatchewan's contribution , please contact:

Brian Feeney
The da Vinci Project
416-434-7470
bfeeney@davinciproject.com
Brian Cook
Highways and Transportation
Regina
(306)787-2701
 
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