August 4, 2003

HERE’S AN UPDATE ON THE X-PRIZE COMPETITION for private spaceflight:

The award – which is vying for a place among the aviation prizes of the early 20th century that propelled major advances in speed, distance and technology – has sparked a space quest akin to the great race for flight in the early 1900s that drew in European and American inventors, including bicycle mechanics Orville and Wilbur Wright of Dayton, Ohio.

A century later, garage rocket scientists across four continents heed the call, joined by notables such as missile pioneer Robert C. Truax and aircraft designer Burt Rutan. At its current pace, X Prize officials say, the award could be won by December, in time for the 100th anniversary of the Wrights’ Kitty Hawk flight.

Ultimately, the prize aims to do for spaceships what the Orteig Prize did for airplanes.

I remember when this idea was first floated. It’s done quite well.

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