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Space Science

Canadian X-Prize Entry Gearing Up 147

Posted by michael
from the hold-your-breath,-eh dept.
lommer writes "The Globe and Mail has a piece up about the Canadian Da Vinci team which is making a bid for the X-prize. The team has finalized a launch location (Kindersley, Saskatchewan) and will announce a launch date this month. Meanwhile, Burt Rutan and Co. over at Scaled Composites appear to be back on track with a succesful test flight on March 11 after their December crash. One has to wonder, with launch dates being set, will some projects step up and attempt a flight without being fully ready for it?"
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Canadian X-Prize Entry Gearing Up

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  • by morcheeba (260908) * on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @05:49PM (#8785381) Journal
    I've got to give them credit for creative funding! [cafeshops.com]
    • Could be worse, they could have sponsorship from the Jackass movie people.

      "Do you have anything in a delta-V style?"

    • I've got to give them credit for creative funding!

      They better look for different funding then.
      Ashcroft is going after pr0n! [slashdot.org]

      Quick! Everybody Panic!
    • Re:Blast off thong (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Feanturi (99866)
      I've got to give them credit for creative funding!

      Disturbing claim found in your link:

      This product is designed to fit juniors.

      I've also heard you can get "Porn Star" brand t-shirts in 10 year old sizes. There's something really wrong here.
      • Re:Blast off thong (Score:4, Informative)

        by morcheeba (260908) * on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @11:31PM (#8788608) Journal
        Yep, that is disturbing, but marketers apply the term "juniors" very broadly. It's not really an age range or a size range (these thongs range from 2-12, which is an adult-sized 160 lbs). [lowcarber.org] Instead it's a term for a style of fashion that is supposed to represent teenagers - and a thong fits that "ideal". Of course, there are 40-year old womem that think they look good in the stuff, and there are sizes to fit them. Marketing of women's fashion is a pretty ugly business.

        IANFBIAAF (I am not female but I am a feminst)
        • You know, there are 40-year old womem (sic) that actually WOULD look good in these.

          Good job being a feminist, suggesting that 40-year old women can't look hot in a thong.
  • Carmack (Score:4, Funny)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @05:49PM (#8785385) Journal
    Carmack should just strap someone into his space ship, and plow em into the side of a mountain or explode them off the pad or whatever.

    End this spaceman nonsense once and for all, and get back to work finishing Doom 3.
  • Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Iscariot_ (166362) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @05:51PM (#8785405)
    One has to wonder, with launch dates being set, will some projects step up and attempt a flight without being fully ready for it?

    Will any of them really be ready for it?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Carnildo (712617)
      Will any of them really be ready for it?

      I think Scaled Composites could launch tomorrow if they wanted to. They've got the full system working, they're just going slowly to make sure nothing unexpected crops up.
      • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

        by twostar (675002)
        They're not ready or they would have flown already. They're slowly adding equpiment and testing new parts in each flight. They added the heat shielding right around the time they went supersonic. They'll keep testing systems right up until they make an attempt. I wouldn't expect to see more then one or two full system flight tests before an attempt. Alot of the equipment can't even be fully tested onboard until they make an attempt or at least make the max altitude with or without two people onboard.
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @05:52PM (#8785416) Homepage Journal
    Rutan still has a *long* way to go. His craft has only made it up ~20km. That leaves him with about 80km to go. When he has more km behind him instead than ahead of him, then we'll talk.

    • by pe1rxq (141710)
      On the bright side, he is one of the few to have an actuall live size vehicel flying....

      Jeroen
      • by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @05:57PM (#8785473) Homepage Journal
        True. His primary competition is from Armadillo. Armadillo could probably launch tomorrow, and maybe even be lucky enough to complete the flight. But they're taking the wise course, and getting the bugs worked out of their system first. :-)

        • I thought Armadillo was still stuck in the "testing the motors" phase.

          Do they have a spacecraft at all?
          • I thought Armadillo was still stuck in the "testing the motors" phase.

            Do they have a spacecraft at all?


            Spoken like someone who hasn't been paying attention. Right now, they're testing the *big motors*. i.e. The one's that are going on the full sized craft. And they're testing them both bolted to the ground, and with captive tests of the craft. Once they get some of the engine kinks worked out and finally work out a control board they can rely on, they'll be ready to fly. Go check out the videos on their
            • Spoken like someone who hasn't been paying attention. Right now, they're testing the *big motors*. i.e. The one's that are going on the full sized craft. And they're testing them both bolted to the ground, and with captive tests of the craft. Once they get some of the engine kinks worked out and finally work out a control board they can rely on, they'll be ready to fly. Go check out the videos on their site. You can see the big armadillo craft in some of them.

              Not to mention that they've been doing paralle

        • I doubt that Armadillo could launch tomorrow they do not even hae a recovery system! They are changing there design from the crushable nosecone to a powered landing system! Not a low risk design. Carmack has a long way to go last time I checked there best manned flight was a test to about one meter. Long way to go. I wish Carmack well but how many human carrying craft has Carmack desgined? How many space craft has he built? Rutan has done both. The smart money is on Rutan. The Canadian team is interesting t
        • Say what? Armadillo is still in the early testing phase of the engine. Are you slashdotters completely unaware of Starchaser, Canadian Arrow and da Vinci Project? All you ever talk about is the Armadillo project as if you expect it to win, or something. Sure, they might, but only if the other, leading, teams fail miserably.
          • Armadillo is still in the early testing phase of the engine.

            Who told you that? Armadillo is in advanced stages of engine testing. The primary kink they're trying to work out is getting the engine to consistently light without warmup. They were actually going to try a simple flight of the full craft a few days ago, but a piece of equipment didn't arrive in time.

            The thing that has me worried most is another poster's mentioning of their decision to ditch the nose cone approach. Last I knew, they were going
            • They did, indeed, switch to a powered landing profile. Carmack has been working the bugs out of the driver software, and has a full simulator built (one of his blogs has a moderately humorous anecdode about the simulator mis-estimating ground level by a meter the wrong way. It made for some rough landings when it resolved itself at the last second).

              I'm a little concerned that the powered landing thing will slow them down enough to miss their chance at the prize, but I think in the long run it will give

    • They added the heat resistant leading edge to the wings in response to the December flight. That cost them 3 months. Prior to the Dec 11 flight, they'd been going up on a fairly routine basis. Now, it's been almost a month since they glide-tested the new edges and they haven't flown since. Either the new edges gave them some undesired flight charateristics or possibly, they're worried about the effect of an unprotected belly as they try to return from 100k up.

      Whatever it is, something's got them held up.

      • I believe that most of the 3 month delay was for the repair of the landing gear and airframe after the first powered flight. If anything is holding them up lately, it's probably the other projects they've got going (like the GlobalFlyer).

        -- scsg
    • Not far at all really. The powered flight to 20km was flown with essentially the same hardware (engines, tanks, airframe, etc.) as they will take to 100km. It seems to me that the only major step remaining is to fill the tanks to the top an let 'er rip. Of course, they are easing into to it for safety's sake. My money is on Rutan's team.

      -scsg
      • It seems to me that the only major step remaining is to fill the tanks to the top an let 'er rip.

        You're making a key assumption here: That the tanks, engines, and airframe are all proven for an 80+ kilometer ascent and 100 km descent. So far these tests are trying to determine whether that assumption is correct or not. Applying Murphy's Law, they'll probably need to build a new version of the craft before they'll be able to fly the craft.

        • I doubt that Scaled will need to build SpaceShipTwo to make their attempt. (Barring some loss-of-vehicle accident with SS1.)

          If it was anybody else, I'd wonder about their ability to make their first prototype reach the target. Supersonic high-altitude flight is not exactly an easy environment to simulate on the ground.

          But as it happens, Scaled has previous experience in this very environment. They were involved in the engineering and production of structural flight components for Orbital Sciences' Pegasus [orbital.com]
    • by peacefinder (469349) * <alan@dewitt.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:20PM (#8786449) Journal
      I've been paying more attention to Scaled than to Armadillo, so any comparison I make of their relative capabilities should be taken with some salt. That said, it looks to me that Scaled is currently closer than Armadillo. Their 20km is about 19.99km higher than Armadillo, so it's nothing to sneeze at.

      Scaled has flown their vehicle under power, and to supersonic speeds. Apparently all non-propulsion systems are fully flight-qualified. They have ground-tested their rocket for the full duration necessary for an X-Prize flight, and fired it in flight for a short duration. The initial supersonic flight of SS1 appears to have been a complete success, except for the scrape they got on landing. That damage is now repaired, and they have flown again since, albeit unpowered. They're not nearly as open about what they're doing as Armadillo, though. They may well have taken another flight or two and not announced it yet. It wouldn't surprise me much if they actually accomplish a 100km flight before announcing that they're ready to fly for the prize.

      Armadillo, on the other hand, does not yet have reliably relighting engines, which is kind of a big deal for them. (Or they didn't have 'em a couple weeks ago, anyway.) Given that their vehicle design makes this a life-safety issue, I expect they're gonna need many tests to validate their operation before they do a manned flight over 50 feet. Once they're ready to do that, they will still need to do enough test flights to ensure they understand the vehicle enough to try for the prize.

      I think Armadillo's got an excellent shot at making a 100km flight, but I don't think they're going to beat Scaled. It's too bad about their previous fuel difficulties; that cost them a lot of time, and it looks to me that the delay may have cost them the prize.
      • by mikeee (137160)
        Armadillo's last two updates have been huge progress on the engine front; they seem to have the problem (mostly...) solved, although it's not clear they have enough thrust/fuel to make it with their current exact design, if they indeed have to abandon parachutes for powered landing.

        OTOH, I don't think they have a full-scale vehicle even started, though a close-to-that flight tester is mostly ready for the engines.

        I'd guess they're a couple months away in the absolute best case scenario.
      • OK, let's try on the supposition that Armadillo makes it up first (twice in 2 weeks, yada, yada, yada) and claims the X Prize. Then what?

        Seriously, Armadillo's design looks to have little or no continuing commercial potential other than as a joyride for people with more money than brains. Using a parachute for return to Earth and a crumple nosecone for landing? Why isn't Estes a big sponsor for them?

        Of course, not winning the X Prize will likely have no effect on Scaled Composite's effort except for a los

        • The winner of the X Prize is really just getting a bunch of money. They're not winning the cutting-edge seat into commercial spaceflight.

          On the same token as Armadillo's design, I don't think any of the X Prize designs are, themselves, aimed at long-term viability. They're steps along that road, but the first hurdle is the X Prize itself, and you don't have to make it commercially viable to win that. You just have to make it fly.

          Real commercial potential will come after the X Prise is claimed, when we're
  • Of course! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Midnight Ryder (116189) <{moc.redyrthgindim} {ta} {redyrdim}> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @05:52PM (#8785425) Homepage

    One has to wonder, with launch dates being set, will some projects step up and attempt a flight without being fully ready for it?

    Of course - this sort of venture always comes with risk, and one of 'em is pushing your timetable up because the other guy looks like he's about to win. Given what happens when you screw up with space flight, I'd expect to see a fatality or two occur in the next couple o' years.

    And one should keep in mind: It's all fun and games until someone gets killed. Then it's a SPORT! :-)

  • X-Birds are go!

    All these various projects gearing up is excellent, hopefully with one successfully taking the prize. (I only hope the rest don't just pack it in when one team wins.) Woohoo!

  • I live about 2 hours away. I think that I will be attending. Not sure what kind of a show will be put on. But I am quite sure that this may be a once in a lifetime oportunity. Well hopefully another launch 2 weeks later.

    • Who picked Saskatchewan as a launch site??

      Don't they understand that the closer to the equator they are, the greater the natural velocity of the vessel? By picking a trajectory so far North, they will have to burn more fuel to get the vehicle up to a speed which they would've gotten for free if they started somewhere closer to the equator.

      The rotation of the Earth could help 'fling' the craft into the air, but instead, by going so far North, it's just going to help the craft spin (imaging launching a cra

      • Ya don't have to orbit to win the X-Prize. Ya just have to blast off and land, and do it again in two weeks.
      • Who picked Saskatchewan as a launch site??

        Don't they understand that the closer to the equator they are, the greater the natural velocity of the vessel? By picking a trajectory so far North, they will have to burn more fuel to get the vehicle up to a speed which they would've gotten for free if they started somewhere closer to the equator.


        This only applies if you're going for orbit. For an up-and-down suborbital flight, no place has a particular advantage over any other. (Slight exception: Launching fr
      • Damn little for them to hit in Saskachawan.
      • by gordguide (307383) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:26PM (#8786517)
        Good flying weather; clear cloudless skys, most sunshine hours in North America (1), and a little less atmosphere the closer you get to the poles, gives a nice, wide launch window.

        Same reason why 80,000 US pilots trained there in WWII, and many NATO nations train there now.

        (1) Note; there are a few places with comparable or perhaps a bit more sunshine over 12 months, due to less sun in winter as you go further north. For the summer months, with even longer days, it's way more than anywhere in N America.
  • by nizo (81281) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:00PM (#8785507) Homepage Journal
    with launch dates being set, will some projects step up and attempt a flight without being fully ready for it?
    Only once.....
  • by capz loc (752940) <.capzloc. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:04PM (#8785552)
    I understand the impracticalities of leaving Canada to launch, but it is my understanding that the reasons that NASA has headquarters in the south of the U.S. (Florida and Texas) is that the rotation of the earth, especially close to the equator, has significant velocity that the shuttles use as a "boost."
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:09PM (#8785609)
      Ah, but this is the beauty of the XPrize. You aren't required to reach orbit, just a certain altitude.

      Hence, launching anywhere works!
    • Yes, the closer you are to the equator the less fuel it will take to power a rocket into orbit. Basically, when a solid object is spinning on any given axis, all points on the object have the same angular velocity. However, the parts furthest from the axis of rotation must be spinning faster to maintain that angular velocity at that point. Go outside and spin a basketball or something on your driveway. You can witness the phenomenon right there.

      This increased velocity is utilized by space agencies to sav

    • The answer is simple, really. They don't want to hit anything! *duck*

    • I've read that it depends on the orbit you are hoping to achieve. If you are looking to get into an equatorial, geosynchronous orbit, it's best done from the equator.

      Polar orbits, however, get little to no benefit from the location of the launch site. That's why places like Churchill Manitoba can look good for rocket launches...

      Reference 1 [spacecentre.no]

      Jason Pollock

    • The other advantage of launching from south east US, is that if anything goes wrong, the craft is likely to crash into the ocean, rather than a populated area.

      Although devoid of oceans, Saskatchewan is fortunately also devoid of populated areas too.

      E.


      • Having seen the original Apollo launch maps, the roughly triangular area described across the Atlantic from Cape Canaveral to just short of the African coast is termed "downrange" (similar to a ballistic firing range).

        Florida was chosen for the south-eastern launch point, lack of appreciable downrange civilization, and then lack of surrounding civilization. There are a few islands scattered around the range, but the chances of hitting one (unintentionally) is pretty small. Likewise, if the rocket were t
      • by saskboy (600063) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:00PM (#8786191) Homepage Journal
        Although you may have said that tongue in cheek, a great many /. readers might take you at your word. 2 cities of over 200K people is hardly an area devoid of population. It is only the northern half of the province that is covered with lakes and trees that is really deviod of all but a few hundred or thousand humans.
    • my understanding that the reasons that NASA has headquarters in the south of the U.S. (Florida and Texas) is that the rotation of the earth [..]

      What makes you think that all the money spent in those states had much to do with engineering or physics? ;^)

  • by saskboy (600063) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:06PM (#8785572) Homepage Journal
    It is because Saskatchewan is an ideal spot for landings from space.

    Large parts are grassland plains, with very little water obstacles, and the road networks are about 1/5th of the total roads in Canada.

    It also helps to have a Redneck population, in case of alien landing. Kidding, kidding, I kid because I love...

    Russia has designated SK an emergency landing zone for cosmonauts. And a rich guy who circled the globe in his baloon landed in SK too.
  • by randall_burns (108052) <randall_burnsNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:08PM (#8785592)
    I personally feel that a lot of pressing problems would be solved if humanity gets into space in a serious way. Quite simply, existing growth of energy and raw material apprears unlikely to continue without utilization of non-terrestrial [slashdot.org] materials. IMHO it is also likely that the type of sacrifices necessary to create an economically viable human presence in space is far less than the sacrifices that would be involved if a war is fought to settle the issues here(i.e. given the technological level of weaponry).

    I personally see humanities choice as between creating an economically viable presence in space-and gradually moving industry there-as Gerard O'Neill at Princeton proposed-or facing the probability of nuclear war or worse. In light of that, I _do_ think that a lot of risk is warrented to create a human presence in space.


    Even if I'm wrong here, people risk their lives for far less worthwhile objectives(i.e. look at the folks that die after drug overdoses, drunk driving accidents or of AIDS).


    The folks that say the risk here isn't warrented are generally envious, cowardly whiners that know that noone like them has a shot at ever winning a competition of this nature--and are afraid that if someone else gets a little bit of increases status it will be that much less left for them. Such cowards have taken the earth to the brink of disaster. Playing it safe-and avoiding the search for poritive sum technological solutions to humanity's major problems is a major root of the enormous decimation of species and genocide of entire peoples--folks don't even put sigificant effort into conceiving of truly positive sum approaches to humanity's future they are so stuck in a narrow way of looking at the world.

    • The link above has a typo in it, here is the correct [aol.com] link.
    • by peacefinder (469349) * <alan@dewitt.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:42PM (#8786674) Journal
      Quite simply, existing growth of energy and raw material apprears unlikely to continue without utilization of non-terrestrial materials.

      Well, sure. Population growth can't continue indefinitely without running short of raw materials. (And room.)

      But what raw materials are we talking about here? If I'm not mistaken, the only materials available in abundance in near space are metals, and we're pretty well set for them. Our future resource shortages are more likely to be along the lines of fresh water than iron ingots.

      Given the energy expenditure involved in extracting additional raw materials and bringing them safely to Earth, it seems to me that the same energy would be better spent recycling the contents of our landfills, cleaning up watersheds, and slowing population growth.

      (Besides, who said indefinite growth is even desireable? If we end up in a position where population pressure is forcing migration up the gravity well, a few rockets ain't gonna cut the mustard anyway.)

      It's not that I'm not a space enthusiast; I am. I hope humanity does colonize off-planet one day. But I don't see how space is a necessary or sufficient component for positive-sum approaches.
      • It's true that it'd take a lot of energy to do anything in space using rockets, but that's not really the idea is it? The idea is that this kind of R&D will produce technologies capable of doing space travel efficiently. Moreover, they might lead to technologies that make every day life more efficient. You're right that we don't need infinite growth (population wise) as a species. In fact, as nations become industrialized, their birth rate usually drops (perhaps due to chemicals? work related stress
      • First off, it isn't a matter of bringing materials back to earth. The fundamental question is the surface of a planet the right place for a technological civilization or would technological infrastructure be better placed someplace else--and the earth's surface perserved as a unique and valuable enviornment.

        The basic problems with population control mechanisms:

        Not all people want to have their population controlled

        The folks doing the controlling have a nasty habit of seeing people like themselves as the
        • What do I mean by positive sum? Heck, I figured you knew... you used the term:

          [...] folks don't even put sigificant effort into conceiving of truly positive sum approaches to humanity's future they are so stuck in a narrow way of looking at the world.

          Positive sum, or more generally non-zero-sum, is a buzzword that describes the benefits of cooperation in a system. See nonzero.org. [nonzero.org]

          First off, it isn't a matter of bringing materials back to earth. The fundamental question is the surface of a planet the
          • As far as Japan, the changes in Japan are less than 60 years old-that is hardly a blip in that country's history. Also the people of Japan have had effective frontiers(albeit modest ones)-Japanese have settled successfully in places like the US(Hawaii and the West Coast), Peru, Brazil and other places.

            IMHO the thing that changed Japan was contact with a culture(i.e. the US) that was more pioneering in some key respects at the time than was Japan. WW II was a humiliating defeat-and it forced the Japanese to
      • Its not about bringing materials back to earth. There are substantial advantages to housing technological and industrial infrastructure in space-as was pointed out by Gerard O'Neill years ago.

        The point of rockets isn't to help mass transportion--we're still _really_ early in the development of space. There _are_ other proposals for things like space elevators--that are theoretically possible--and would make migration to space relatively inexpensive. There is a lot to do though between now and then. Rockets
    • Quite simply, existing growth of energy and raw material apprears unlikely to continue without utilization of non-terrestrial materials.

      Bunk and Hogwash! We have an entire planetful of resources right under our feet with a "class M" environment surrounding most of it. It will be decades, perhaps centuries, before we import more material from space than we export Space will not economically viable as a source of resources for at least a millennium. By that time we should have proper recycling in place,
      • It isn't a question of the availability of the materials-but also the consequences of using them and the advantages of using them in a particular location. For example, there are some advantages to having things like communications instrastructure in orbit.
        • Communications isn't raw materials. Don't get me wrong. I'd love to see space exploration take off :-), but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that we are anywhere close to using extraterrestrial materials in a significant way. The easiest thing to do would be to use lunar soil as a base material for some form of concrete. Another thing would be to use local water (if any is ever found in significant quantity) to supplement life support. Mining the asteroids for metals, or extracting ores from Ma
          • communications isn't raw materials--but manufacture of communications infrastructure requires substantial use of raw materials. An early application of non-terrestrial materials might be creating shielding for communications satellites-it is potentially a lot cheaper to take mass from the moon into earth orbit than from the surface of the earth.

            Even mining the moon or asteroids for metals could happen fairly soon. The type of teleoperated infrastructure you need for basic mining isn't all that great-as O'N
            • The most significant portion of communications infrastructure is the electronics, which requires sophisticated manufacturing, and highly refined materials, neither of which are not going to come from space. As for shielding, just dig up an old refridgerator or two from your local dump. Besides, communications infrastructure is such a relatively insignificant drain on material resources that going to space for materials is stupid. Space is just too expensive as a source of raw materials, except for use in
              • The reason why folks might consider non-terrestrial materials for shielding of satellites is that those materials require minimal refinement and it is theoretically cheaper to transport from the moon than from the earth.

                Now, I would agree that there may first be use of recycled orbiting "garbage" first.
    • The X Prize is based on a contest in the 1920s, which resulted in Charles Lindbergh's non-stop flight across the Atlantic. It set off an aviation boom that yielded multi-engine transports and jets. The X Prize is expected to ignite the same advancements in civilian space flight.

      This method of providing a prize for the 'first' to me is also reminiscent of the Wright brothers, though in their case there wasn't any prize, just fame (Which is prize enough I guess), and also the failed DARPA challenge. Howeve
      • Actually, there was a whole series of aviation prizes [forbes.com] around the time of the Wright Brothers:

        Chanute urged the brothers to try for some of the aviation prizes that were being offered for flights of specified times and distances, which would have established their dominance in the public's mind. They refused. "We would have to expose our machine more or less, and that might interfere with the sale of our secrets," they wrote to a friend in January 1906. "We appreciate the honor and the prestige that would

    • The problem isn't raw materials for construction. We're literally swimming in 'em. The problem is going to be energy production. Oil and coal will be around for a little bit longer, but 50 years down the line when the rest of the 3rd world (and all of China) is turning on their lights at night, and you're talking about serious energy concerns. "Alternative" isn't an option, it's going to be a necessity.

      The other problem is that NASA is dealing with space exploration in the completely wrong way. I wish
  • Crashes (Score:1, Offtopic)

    From the article:Wildfire's total budget is $5-illion, while the Rutan, its main competitor from California, has a $25-million wallet filled by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. "It's the Canadian team with no money against the American team with unlimited resources," said Ms. Wildman. "But they just did some test flights and had a failed landing and our testing has gone perfectly. We feel like we have the edge."" The thing funded by Bill Gates crashes. What else is new?
    • Not quite (Score:2, Informative)

      by Simarilius (665671)
      The storys inaccurate, its not Bill Gates funding Spaceship one, its Paul Allen. Microsoft connection yes, Gates, no.
    • Re:Crashes (Score:4, Informative)

      by bwy (726112) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:54PM (#8786124)
      Don't believe everything you read. Paul Allen is a big sponsor of SpaceShipOne... Not Bill Gates so far as I know. Also, I'd hardly say that SpaceShipOne crashed. It has a successful flight and had an incident with the landing gear that was cabable of being repaired. And during that flight, SpaceShipOne became the first ever privately funded plane/spaceship to break the sound barrier. SO what, they had a landing gear issue. Earlier in flight they lit up a rocket engine after being dropped from a jet at 47,000 feet.
      • Re:Crashes (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AeroIllini (726211)
        Don't believe everything you read. Paul Allen is a big sponsor of SpaceShipOne... Not Bill Gates so far as I know. Also, I'd hardly say that SpaceShipOne crashed. It has a successful flight and had an incident with the landing gear that was cabable of being repaired. And during that flight, SpaceShipOne became the first ever privately funded plane/spaceship to break the sound barrier. SO what, they had a landing gear issue. Earlier in flight they lit up a rocket engine after being dropped from a jet at 47,0


  • Maybe... except that the rules state that it has to be a manned flight. Would you want to go up knowing your team wasn't "fully ready for it"?

    I didn't think so.

  • by billstewart (78916) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:27PM (#8785794) Journal
    We've got full tanks of kerosine and Lox, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing spacesuits built by the lowest bidder. .... hit it! ....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:54PM (#8786120)
    Canadians have put something in space. A guy called Gerald Bull used to routinely shoot things 100 km up. If he hadn't been murdered, probably by a spy, he probably would have put a satellite in orbit.

    I'm suprised that no one has made a movie about him. The following link is definately worth a look:

    www.astronautix.com/articles/abroject.htm
  • Bullwinkle (Score:3, Funny)

    by falsification (644190) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:57PM (#8786156) Journal
    I think they should name their ship Bullwinkle, or Rocky. There was a great cartoon about a flying Canadian squirrel a long time ago. The graphics are like completely stupid, but it's funny sometimes in a geeky kind of way.

    What do you say, Canada?

  • Fully Ready (Score:2, Funny)

    by Apostata (390629)
    Quote: One has to wonder, with launch dates being set, will some projects step up and attempt a flight without being fully ready for it?

    Apparently only those run by NASA.
  • I'm there! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by qualico (731143)
    Being close to Saskatchewan, I'll go for the launch.

    Using my Celestron 9.25" Telescope with video camera, I'll give Slashdot a good update at www.spacecanada.org
  • by Anonymous Coward
    These Canadians should give up. We all know that the X-prize will be won by a team on an upcoming edition of Junkyard Wars/Scrapheap Challenge. Ratings are down ever since they changed hosts, and all the "We want Cathy back!" letters have gone unanswered. Clearly they must have a huge competition and/or have the current host flash her tits.
  • A space launch from my hometown. Whoda thunkit? I guess they figure they won't actually damage anything if it goes wrong. :)

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