GO FOR LAUNCH! X PRIZE FOUNDATION
ANNOUNCES TEAMS READY TO COMPETE FOR $10 MILLION - Los
Angeles, CA — July
27, 2004 - The American Mojave Aerospace Ventures Team
announces launch dates for SpaceShipOne and the Canadian da Vinci
Project Team announces roll-out date for their completed spaceship.
The X PRIZE Foundation announced key next steps today by two of
its top competitors for the ANSARI X PRIZE. The American Mojave
Aerospace Ventures, LLC Team (a partnership between Paul G. Allen
and Burt Rutan and his team at Scaled Composites) announced today
that it has given its official 60-day notice and has scheduled
its first competition flight on September 29th, 2004, at the Mojave
Airport Civilian Aerospace Test Center in Mojave, California. To
win the $10 million, SpaceShipOne will need to make a second flight
within two weeks, by October 13th, 2004.
In addition, the Canadian da Vinci Project Team, based in Toronto,
Canada, announced its plans to roll-out its completed Wild Fire
spacecraft for public viewing and photo opportunities on Thursday,
Aug 5th, 2004, at its Downsview Airport hanger in Toronto. The
da Vinci Project Team, widely heralded as a contender for the $10
million, will pursue its own ANSARI X PRIZE space flight attempts
Also introduced to supporters and press was 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 10:30 am 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. "The American Mojave Aerospace
Ventures Team and the Canadian da Vinci Project Team are just two
of the 26 competing groups who will someday make it possible for
spaceflights to be conducted from commercial spaceports across
the globe. When the ANSARI X PRIZE competition is won, it will
herald the start of a new renaissance of spaceflight in which the
general public will have their chance to fly next."
If successful, Mojave Aerospace Ventures will make history by
launching a privately financed, manned spaceship to 100 km altitude,
twice within two weeks, each carrying a pilot and the weight and
volume equivalent of two additional passengers. On June 21st, Mike
Melvill, a pilot for Mojave Aerospace Ventures, became the first
commercial pilot to enter suborbital space, earning astronaut wings
and a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Similar to the
June flight, the competition launches will take place at the Mojave
Airport Civilian Aerospace Test Center in Mojave, California.
The public is invited and encouraged to attend the historic events.
Parking passes for public attendance can be purchased on the X
PRIZE website (www.xprize.org). "The idea of competitions have
always had a rich heritage in our society," said Paul G. Allen,
sole investor of SpaceShipOne and partner in Mojave Aerospace Ventures,
LLC. "This competition has proven that there are many different
ways to attack the challenges set out by the ANSARI X PRIZE. From
the start we have approached SpaceShipOne with a 'can-do, home-brew'
attitude. We are grateful that our previous flights have brought
even more attention to the ANSARI X PRIZE and given more momentum
to the groundswell of excitement that is continuing to build for
the long-term potential of affordable space exploration."
"I want to thank the X PRIZE Foundation for providing the inspiration
in 1996, to get us little guys thinking about private development
of manned space flight. Last month our team demonstrated that private
companies can indeed conduct space flights without government help." stated
Burt Rutan, Team Leader of the Mojave Aerospace Ventures Team and
designer of both the White Knight and SpaceShipOne. "We are hopeful
to complete both qualifying flights and to win the ANSARI X PRIZE."
Wild Fire, the Canadian da Vinci Project Team spacecraft, is also
launched at high-altitude into suborbital space at 80,000 feet
from an unmanned, reusable helium balloon. The Canadian da Vinci
Project Team, considered one of the top ANSARI X PRIZE competitors,
will reveal its Wild Fire space vehicle to the public for the first
time on August 5th, 2004, at its Downsview Airport Hanger in Toronto. "The
da Vinci Project Team has made huge strides in the past year and
we're excited to finally share Wild Fire with the public," noted
Brian Feeney, da Vinci Project Team Leader. "We're in the commercial
tourist race for the long haul and while working with an all-volunteer
team, we've been able to accomplish major aviation and space milestones
in pursuit of the ANSARI X PRIZE."
In addition, Colonel Rick Searfoss, pilot and commander of three
Space Shuttle missions, was introduced as the Chief Judge of the
ANSARI X PRIZE. "We have met with the Mojave Aerospace Ventures
Team and we are prepared to ensure that the flights are well monitored
and that all rules are followed carefully," said Col. Searfoss. "As
an experienced astronaut, I can tell you that I'm personally excited
to see the beginning of a new generation of spaceflight."
About the ANSARI X PRIZE Competition
Currently, 26 teams from around the globe are competing for the
$10 million ANSARI X PRIZE. In order to win the competition, teams
must build a safe and reusable space vehicle able to carry one
pilot and the weight equivalent of two passengers, 100km (62 miles)
into suborbital space. The vehicle must be privately financed and
safely flown twice within a two-week period. The first registered
ANSARI X PRIZE team to complete this feat will win the $10 million
prize and a spectacular 5-foot trophy.About the X PRIZE Foundation
The X PRIZE Foundation is a not-for-profit educational organization
with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. The Foundation's ANSARI
X PRIZE Competition is supported by its Title Sponsor, the Ansari
family, and 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 Organization.
The Foundation's mission is to educate the public about space travel,
create educational programming for students and space enthusiasts,
and 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 contest
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
About the X PRIZE Foundation
The X PRIZE Foundation is a not-for-profit educational organization
with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. Supported by private
donations and the St. Louis community, 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 Foundation and associate themselves with space, speed and
To learn more about the ANSARI X PRIZE competition, please visit www.ansarixprize.org.
To find out how individuals, educational organizations or corporations
can join the efforts of the X PRIZE Foundation, please visit www.xprize.org or
contact the office at +1 636 519 9449.