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The Golden / da Vinci Project shows flight hardware to the world! - Las Cruces, NM Oct 10, 2005: Over 20,000 people attended the one-day “Countdown to X Prize Cup” event here at the Las Cruces International Airport. The event highlighted the existing X Prize teams, and provided an opportunity to introduce new teams and events for the upcoming yearly X Prize Cup events.

Alongside the rocket itself was the actual injector valve assembly that will be used in the flight engine, and a full-scale 18,000 lb thrust engine ready to be ground-fired as part of the engine testing program.

Robert Picardo from Star Trek Voyager was the Events MC. Media turnout was strong with photo, TV and print journalist from as far away as Japan.

For pics click on the following link to our timeline/gallery– and slide over to 2005, click on the X PRIZE CUP IN THE Events lineup.

The event included the one-day exhibits at the airport, as well as a one-day symposium held at New Mexico State University (NMSU). Brian Feeney, Project Leader for the da Vinci Project, was a member of a blue-ribbon panel of X Prize contenders and other aerospace people who spoke about the future of civilian space travel.

Brian’s introductory comments, more than anyone else’s on the panel, set the tone for the rest of the discussion. “Space is about entertainment”, Feeney said, “not just scientific experiments or satellite launches. It’s about allowing people the opportunity to experience something that they can’t get here on Earth – a glimpse of the blue Earth, with its thin, fragile envelope of air”. This theme quickly became the rallying cry for the audience during the question and answer period, and throughout the rest of the symposium.

The Countdown to X Prize Cup was a major success kicking off this annual event and has set the stage for the next X PRIZE Cup 2006. This year’s inaugural event featured several teams showcasing rocket hardware in various stages of development. The recently announced Rocket Racing League featured the XCOR rocket racer prototype and Armadillos VTVL rocket demonstrator. Next years Cup will be significantly larger with manned rocket flights, a 2 full days of public expo through out the one week long cup period.

The post-event comment from Dr. Peter Diamandis, Chairman of the X Prize foundation, neatly sums up the event:

"Dear Friends & Supporters,
Our first Countdown to the X PRIZE Cup was a tremendous success!
The event began with nearly 700 people waiting in line at the gate when the ribbon was cut to open the event, with thousands of people participating throughout the day. Those who came were able to see hardware and meet the leaders from 13 different Ansari X PRIZE teams and see over 50 other participating companies that came to demonstrate at the event. Despite high winds (gusting to 30 mph), we were able to complete two flights of the EZ-Rocket/Rocket Racer, a launch of Armadillo, an F117 flyover, and a (failed but still exciting) Starchaser engine firing. The crowd got to see experimental rocketry, some of what works and some of what is still in development, up close (though not too close). The public, the NM officials and the media walked away having seen the beginning of a new era in space flight firsthand and excited about next year’s event. Our expanded event will take place next year, again at the Las Cruces Airport (New Mexico) during the week of October 16 – 22nd, 2006. The Spaceflight Exposition will double to a 2-day event over the weekend of October 21 & 22nd. Please mark your calendar.
Best wishes,
Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman, X PRIZE Foundation"

Best quote overheard by a journalist – Aero News Network reported the following with the attached pic:

"Sound of a rocket -- cool!" - Project head Brian Feeney onstage (above), when his discussion with the X-Prize Foundation's Greg Maryniak was interrupted by the loud hiss of XCOR's teacart engine.

About The Golden Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project

The Golden Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project's was a leading contender for the Ansari X PRIZE, the international "New Race to Space(R)". The Project is backed by a core of volunteers from many walks of life and disciplines. Aerospace engineers, experts in project management and finance contribute their time and expertise towards the realization of the next step in Human discovery. The Project's novel rocket design will be launched from the world's largest reusable helium balloon at an altitude of 70,000 feet (24,400 meters).

For more information, please call:

Golden Palace / da Vinci Project Media Contact:

Una McAvoy


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