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The Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project continues to make headway! - Toronto November 25, 2004

After sending congratulatory messages to Burt Rutan’s X-Prize winning team, the Golden da Vinci crew got right back to work, continuing to make progress on the Wild Fire Mk VI engine and flight components.  “We were happy to see Burt’s successful flights. He almost made it look easy,” said Brian Feeney, project leader for the development team.  “But that’s just the beginning of the game.  We are continuing our effort to successfully launch our spacecraft under the auspices of the X PRIZE Foundation.  And, we continue to wish all the best of luck to the other competitors who have remained in the New Race to Space as well.”

Brian explained the engine development program is proceeding well with additional firing  tests to ensure proper ignition and stability of thrust.  We have a location in southern Ontario appropriately named “Test Hill” by the locals. Air Liquide provided us with a 25 ton capacity Nitrous Oxide storage tank for multiple full duration test firings. The engine “tiger team” composed of internal resources and outside industry experts is making great strides.  Brian, and the entire engine team, are very optimistic about their engines.  Test results, pictures and videos will be made available following the completion of the engine qualification  test program.Other spacecraft components are in a final phase of completion and integration. Subsystem testing has been ongoing throughout the program.  

Ancillary equipment, such as the transport and launch cradle, and the recovery tools are ready for deployment. Communication and avionics are being optimized during this final phase of the project prior to flight. Overall, the excitement is building.

Organization aspects of ground operations have been addressed by Dav1d Grossman, Team Leader, GroundOps.  Dav1d went to Kindersley and Saskatoon to meet with emergency services personnel (Police, Fire, Ambulance), as well as other local da Vinci Volunteers who will be providing ground support equipment, crew members, and facilities for Mission Control.  These meetings were very successful.  The people of Kindersley are very eager to see their town become Canada’s Spaceport.

As well, Brian has been speaking at a number of prestigious events, including the SpaceVision2004 Conference at M.I.T. At this conference, Brian presented a brief historical narrative of the evolution of the project, and the vision for the future.

Other speaking engagements included the closing keynote address at Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference in Victoria BC, the St. Louis Science Center – X PRIZE event, keynote at the Conference Board of Canada 2004 Technical Conference and a hometown favorite, the University of Toronto, Astronomy Society.  Upcoming presentation by Brian will include the closing keynote address at the Canadian Student Summit on Space 2005

There have also been a number of local speaking engagements in Toronto by other da Vinci team members.  Of particular note is the seminar series designed for the Public School Grade 6 “Aviation and Flight” Unit.  This seminar includes technical details appropriate to the class curriculum, as well as some fun questions and answers, and a “hands-on” portion with some materials taken from the fabrication shop floor.  (For more information on scheduling a seminar for your school, contact Dav1d Grossman at


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