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Space Exploration News From Around the Internet, Updated Every Weekday.
July 10, 2000 - Issue #269


A British Firm, Starchaser Industries, moved a step closer to capturing the X-Prize on Thursday with the launch of its two-stage Starchaser-Discovery rocket. The six-meter rocket flew to an altitude of 5,720 meters over Morecambe Bay, U.K.. The X-Prize will pay $10 million to the first team that develops a reusable rocket without government support that can carry three people to an altitude of 100km. Starchaser CEO Steven Bennett believes his company will capture the prize by mid-2003.

Original Source:
Star Chaser

Internet Coverage:

X PRIZE Foundation


X PRIZE Foundation Announces Entry of New Russian and American Teams to Compete for $10 million Space Incentive Prize

ST. LOUIS, MO, USA (November 5, 1999) -- The St. Louis-based X PRIZE Foundation, which is offering a $10 million incentive prize to the first team to fly a private spaceship on a suborbital flight into space, today announced that two new teams have joined the race. The entry of COSMOPOLIS XXI, Moscow, Russia and TGV Rockets, Inc, Maryland, U.S., brings the total number of X PRIZE teams to 17.

"We are very excited to welcome the new Russian and American teams into the X PRIZE competition," said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, founder and chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation. "Historically, it was the race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union which created today's space industry. We hope that the X PRIZE's New Race to Spaceü will now open space to the general public so the rest of us can travel into space as well."

To win the X PRIZE, a team must privately build and fly a spaceship capable of carrying three adults to an altitude of 100 km (62 miles) on two consecutive flights within two weeks. Patterned after the Orteig Prize, won by Charles Lindbergh in 1927, the X PRIZE is headquartered in St. Louis building on the historical significance of the Spirit of St. Louis, which opened aviation to the masses. "The winner of the X PRIZE," continued Diamandis, "will permanently open the door for passenger travel into space and lead to the development of a new generation of low-cost, commercial spaceships."

"Russia has a tremendous history of being first in space, the first satellite (Sputnik) and the first human in space (Yuri Gagarin). We look forward to demonstrating our ability in the commercial and space tourism realm," says Sergey Kostenko, head of the Russian team. "We are very excited about the X PRIZE and look forward to the competition."

"Most of the great aviation achievements of the 20th Century were driven by prizes," said Kent Ewing, Chairman, TGV Rockets. "The feats of the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Paul MacCready, were all inspired by prize competitions. The X PRIZE is the first great prize of the 21st Century."

COSMOPOLIS XXI, the Russian X PRIZE team, is comprised of several well-known Russian aerospace engineers, including Valery Novikov, an early pioneer in the Russian space program who worked on the Apollo-Soyuz and Buran programs. He is joined by Alexander Bruk, Valery Kostenko, Nickolai Chicerov, Arvid Tokhunts, Valery Pogodin and Alexander Arkhipov. The team is led by Sergey Kostenko.

The spaceship design is based on a reusable rocket that is lifted to 20 kilometers altitude by an existing carrier aircraft (the M-55 "Geophisika"). Passenger-cosmonauts are accommodated inside the passenger capsule of a 3 seat rocket module which consists of a cylindrical vehicle with small foldable aerodynamic surfaces and a rescue capsule. The spaceship then takes off from the top of the carrier aircraft using rocket propulsion and climbs to an peak altitude of 100 km where space tourists will experience zero gravity and an incredible view of the Earth from space.

TGV Rocjets has a world-class management team, led by Kent Ewing, Patrick Bahn, Earl Renaud, Len Cormier, and Bob Ray. Their spaceship, the Modular Incremental Compact High Energy Low-cost Launch Experiment B, nicknamed MICHELLE-B, features vertical takeoffs and landings. The spaceship will accelerate for 80 seconds after liftoff, then coast to a maximum altitude of 104 km, followed by a gravity-induced descent and a powered landing using reduced engine thrust.

The X PRIZE Foundation is a non-profit educational organization based in St. Louis, which uses prizes to create a new commercial approach to spaceflight. Following in the footsteps of more than 100 aviation prizes offered between 1905 and 1935, which created today's multi-hundred billion dollar air transport industry, the X PRIZE Foundation is offering a $10 million purse to stimulate competition among the most talented entrepreneurs and rocket experts in the world. Early spin-offs of the X PRIZE Competition include suborbital space tourism, ultra-rapid transcontinental mail and package delivery and eventually one-hour passenger travel between any two points on Earth. The X PRIZE is financially supported by the New Spirit of St. Louis Organization, a group of forward thinking St. Louis business leaders. For more information, including photos of the X PRIZE trophy and teams, please visit the X PRIZE website¨

October 30, 1997

$250,000 Space PRIZE
to be announced November 7th at "Space Frontier Conference VI"

In an attempt to open the space frontier to private human activity, and to destroy the myth that space is owned by any government or any government agency, two international space organizations will announce a $250,000 "Cheap Access to Space" (CATS) Prize on November 7th at "Space Frontier Conference VI" in Los Angeles.

The conference, with the theme "Space: Open for Business", will be held at the Los Angeles Sheraton Gateway Hotel from November 7-9, 1997. A central topic will be the transformation of space from a government program to a real frontier driven by commercial development. The conference will feature frank discussions about privatizing the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. There will also be presentations on new commercial markets, such as the emerging space tourism industry, recent plans to privately capture and mine asteroids, and proposals to use space solar power to compete with today's coal and nuclear energy systems.

The formal announcement of the $250,000 CATS prize will be made at a press conference and reception on Friday, November 7 at 7 pm. The prize will be awarded to the first private team to launch a 2 kilogram payload to an altitude of 200 km or greater. Conference attendees and members of the press may attend the reception. The rules for the competition, and other details, will be announced at this time.

The Space Frontier Foundation, an international space policy and media organization, will manage the competition and is holding the prize which has been funded by the Foundation for the International Non-Governmental Development of Space (FINDS), a private 7 million dollar endowment. "Governments don't open frontiers, people do" stated Foundation President and FINDS Executive Director Rick N. Tumlinson. "Prizes have been used throughout history to foster innovation in the private sector. From the age of exploration to Lindberg they have inspired imaginations and helped knock down barriers."

A special all-day session on Friday, November 7, sponsored by the U.S. Air Force's Phillips Laboratory, will focus on radical innovations in spaceplane technologies and services being offered by the new generation of entrepreneurial rocket companies. The conference is being co-sponsored by the ProSpace, the "Citizen's Space Lobby."

Guest speakers will include such notables as former astronauts turned entrepreneurs "Buzz" Aldrin (Apollo 11), Charles "Pete" Conrad (Apollo 12) and Dr. Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17), Mars advocate and author Dr. Robert Zubrin, asteroid resources expert Dr. John Lewis (University of Arizona), world-renowned robot builder Red Whitaker (Carnegie Mellon University), NASA's John Mankins (NASA/HQ), and former congresswoman Andrea Seastrand.

"Whether you are an investor, an entrepreneur, a space reporter, or working on a movie about our future, this is the one place to be this year," advises Tumlinson, who has testified multiple times before Congress on space commercialization issues. "It's like the day before the computer revolution. This stuff is real, it's beginning right now, and it will soon change our civilization forever."

The Space Frontier Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that has been fighting since 1988 to change how we all think about, and attempt to open, the space frontier. Our goal is the near term and irreversible expansion of the human race into space, and the permanent settlement of the high frontier.

Registration for this 3-day conference is $90, or $70 for students. Registration will open at 8 a.m. on Friday, November 7th. The Sheraton Gateway Hotel is located at 6101 West Century Boulevard near Los Angeles International Airport (310-642-1111).

For more detailed information on the conference visit our web site at: For information on the Space Frontier Foundation, call 1(800) 78-SPACE. Our Email address is:

Ben Muniz, Director of Public Affairs
Space Frontier Foundation

Space Frontier Conference VI, 7-9 Nov 1997, Los Angeles, CA @ LAX
see for details.

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