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Space The Almighty Buck Science

X Prize Competition Gets New Sponsor, Amended Name 203

Posted by simoniker
from the kerching dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The X Prize Foundation today announced that entrepreneurs Anousheh Ansari and Amir Ansari have made a multi-million dollar contribution to the X Prize Foundation. As a result, the X Prize Competition is being renamed to the Ansari X Prize Competition." However, the X Prize rules stay the same: "The ANSARI X PRIZE will award $10 million to the first private organization to build and fly a ship that can carry three passengers 100 km (62 miles) into space, return safely to Earth and repeat the launch with the same ship within two weeks. Both flights must be completed by January 1st, 2005."
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X Prize Competition Gets New Sponsor, Amended Name

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  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:20PM (#9069591)
    What a great way to buy one's name into the pages of history.
    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Funny)

      by glean (609540) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:45PM (#9069763) Homepage
      That is exactly what I was thinking. They have no skills, (AFAIK), in this matter, take a competition that seemed of pure intent (unbranded), throw some money at it, and there it is - They are famous for nothing.
      You can get your name put on anything for the right price anymore.

      I just can't wait for the new Maxwell House Instant Shuttle from NASA.
      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @09:10PM (#9069905)
        the new Maxwell House Instant Shuttle

        Good to the last drop?
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AJWM (19027) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @09:33PM (#9070026) Homepage
        Famous for nothing? Hardly -- the prize itself has been a big incentive to the various candidate groups, and the money has to come from somewhere.

        That was the idea behind the prize in the first place, but no big donor stepped forward early -- hence the "X" prize because there was no name, yet, to attach to it. The intention was always to name it after whoever stepped up with the prize money.

        Read your aviation (and other technology) history, you'll see lots of progress due to (named) prizes offered by folks with no skills but how to make (or inherit) money.

        I just can't wait for the new Maxwell House Instant Shuttle from NASA.

        Me neither, although preferably not from NASA. And I think FedEx or American Airlines might be more likely logos.
        • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

          by DerekLyons (302214) <(fairwater) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @10:39PM (#9070393) Homepage
          That was the idea behind the prize in the first place, but no big donor stepped forward early -- hence the "X" prize because there was no name, yet, to attach to it. The intention was always to name it after whoever stepped up with the prize money.
          No. It was named the 'X' prize after the series of ground breaking experimental aircraft built by the USAF and NASA. (Think X-1, X-15, etc...)
          • Re:Wow (Score:3, Informative)

            by AJWM (19027)
            That's why they chose the letter "X". At the time Pournelle and others (including myself) had been pushing for the resumption of the X program which had pretty much petered out. We got DC-X, and then the X-series started to revive (although not quite in the same spirit as the original program.)

            The prize program itself was very much modelled on named prizes like the Orteig Prize, and "X" worked out both for unknown and for the X Program. Both the named prize and X program memes were floating around in s
      • You can get your name put on anything for the right price anymore.

        Think: Carnegie Hall.

      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lindsayt (210755) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @11:14PM (#9070556)
        As an historian, I would like to point out that Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain knew nothing of navigation, and in fact weren't even particularly interested in sailing per se, and yet they are inseparably linked with the final European discovery of the New World in 1492.

        Why, you ask? Because they bankrolled it and told everybody so. Of course they were shooting for a valuable spice trade and missed, but the point is that Columbus, an Italian with few resources, was not bankrolled out of altruism or interest in discovery, navigation or research, but out of a desire by Spanish royals to be rich and to stand out among European royalty as the greatest.

        Altruism has its place, but greed, egos and personal desire for eternal fame are what pay the bills. There's nothing new about that.
    • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rhuntley12 (621658)
      More power to him. The people who fund projects are just as important as the people who do the projects IMO. Without the funding you get nowhere. My hats off to this guy.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

      by KJACK98 (623902) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @11:11PM (#9070545)
      http://www.gmu.edu/alumni/spirit/00fall/ansari.htm l If you look at the donators background, I don't think you could find a better or more honorable person to have sponsored this event... This woman definitely deserves her name to be recorded with X Prize's History...
  • by rd4tech (711615) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:20PM (#9069598)
    The ANSARI X PRIZE will award $10 million to the first private organization to build and fly a ship that can carry three passengers 100 km (62 miles) into space, return safely to Earth and repeat the launch with the same ship within two weeks

    What about the passengers? Or they really do care only about the ship :)
    • by LupusUF (512364) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:36PM (#9069711)
      "5. The crew must return to the Earth's surface from both flights in good health as reasonably defined and judged by the X PRIZE Review Board. The flight vehicle must return from both flights substantially intact, as defined by and in the sole judgment of the X PRIZE Review Board, such that the vehicle is reusable."

      Rule number 5 :)

      I guess they don't put in on the press release since it points out that people might not come back in good health...but the full rules don't let dead people win.
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:21PM (#9069599)
    Sponsors get naming rights on just about everything these days, so it's not surprising the X-Prize wasn't immune... next thing you know somebody's going to buy the rights to put ads on baseball bases.
    • by Ieshan (409693) <ieshan@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:35PM (#9069704) Homepage Journal
      This was an obvious joke, but I'm not sure if moderators really get it-

      Ads really are going on baseball bases. Spiderman 2 has bought the rights [cnn.com] to put some logos on baseball bases in the next few weeks.

      Next thing you know, corporate sponsors will be buying insightful or funny slashdot posts.

      THIS POST BROUGHT TO YOU BY MCDONALDS [mcdonalds.com]. WE'RE LOVIN' IT.
      • I don't watch baseball much, so maybe I'm missing something, but... won't those ads be essentially invisible? I've never seen a close up of one of the bases on TV, and I doubt they're advertising to the players alone...
        • a) Huge media attention from the beginning. It's something that's never been done before. That's essentially "free" advertising.

          b) Un-editable content. While there are many ads in major league baseball already [see: the scoreboard, the stadium, etc], there are none on the field of play. If something big happens in these games, they can't edit the spiderman logo out.

          c) Mention by the announcers. Something like a), except, this is going to be a big deal.

          d) Regular advertising. Yeah, they'll be visible on m
    • Next thing you know, Slashdot, the bastion of rational and unbiased news for nerds will accept ads!
    • I've often wondered which will be the first country to officially emblazon its flag with a corporate logo. I've also wondered which corporation it would be and how much it would cost.

      I predict Australia for the first, McDonald's for the second, and have no idea about the third.

    • . . . somebody's going to buy the rights to put ads on baseball bases.
      Thankfully, in some games [well, soccer specifically] this is against the rules. It is nice to watch a game play out on an uncluttered surface.

      FIFA bans advertisements of any kind in the field of play or on the goals; even logos for the tournament or league never appear on the field.

      Brand names printed on the balls and the uniforms are not subject to this ban, of course.

  • by erick99 (743982) * <homerun@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:21PM (#9069602)
    This has been an extremely exciting contest, yet, I don't think that any of the competitors are going to be able meet the requirements to claim the prize:

    The ANSARI X PRIZE will award $10 million to the first private organization to build and fly a ship that can carry three passengers 100 km (62 miles) into space, return safely to Earth and repeat the launch with the same ship within two weeks. Both flights must be completed by January 1st, 2005

    I hope they extend the date and I also hope the prize money goes up. I think the major entrants have all spent more than $10,000.000 as it is. Still, I don't think they are doing it primarily for the money anyway.

    Happy Trails!

    Erick

    • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:25PM (#9069629)
      I hope they extend the date and I also hope the prize money goes up. I think the major entrants have all spent more than $10,000.000 as it is. Still, I don't think they are doing it primarily for the money anyway.

      Most are doing it for the money, but just not soley the X-Prize money. Afterall, if a team ends up finishing late or beaten by another team finishing before them... they'll still have a working reusable orbital spacecraft. That's gotta be useful for something.
      • by Pidder (736678) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:32PM (#9069682)
        Afterall, if a team ends up finishing late or beaten by another team finishing before them... they'll still have a working reusable orbital spacecraft. That's gotta be useful for something.

        Yes definitely. I'm going to use mine to escape earth when the RIAA cracks down on me and travel to one of those rogue travel outposts they have in the movies... or something.

        • Be careful if you take a trip to Mos Eisley, its nothing but a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Seem to be somewhat lax on laws though.
        • by bezuwork's friend (589226) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:58PM (#9069842)
          I'm going to use mine to escape earth when the RIAA cracks down on me ...

          Hey! In space, copyright laws don't apply (yet). You can set up a rogue state for file traders.

          History is bound to repeat itself. Apparently, many of the Europeans who came to the US way back when did so to escape opressive taxes. Of course, others did it for wealth or land. Who knows, if cheap affordable spaceflight becomes a reality, the chance to create a new state from scratch will be upon us.

          However, the *IAA are probably ahead of you, or will do their best to be. I had Entertainment Law this semester (had the final today) - we learned that one of the record company executives saw a shot of astronauts in space with music playing. Apparently it was MCI. Well, believe it or not, while artist contracts previously required assignment of all rights for the whole Earth, now they say for the Universe. (Can't have artists suing and reclaiming that lucrative interplanetary market!)

        • In space, no one can hear you stream... Sorry!
      • by Docrates (148350) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @09:15PM (#9069932) Homepage
        SUB-Orbital!. Getting into orbit requires an amount of speed and power that is waaaay beyond what the X-Prize entrants can currently achieve.

        I mean, sure, once they start running a profitable business taking people up to space, Zero G for seconds to a few minutes, and then down real fast, then they can start working on the exponentially harder orbital flights, which will be even more profitable with business applications as well as pure fun.
    • I think the major entrants have all spent more than $10,000.000
      Some of them certainly. The Scaled Composites project has a budget several times that from what I've heard. John Carmack and Armadillo were planning on a budget of less than $2M, though.
  • Expiration date (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RotJ (771744)
    What happens after January 1, 2005? Do they get to keep all that sweet cash?
    • What happens after January 1, 2005? Do they get to keep all that sweet cash?
      Nope. When they could not raise enough cash, the X-Prize foundation bought an insurance policy that covers the remainder. That policy expires on that date.

      It's fascinating that sponsors are showing up as the race comes into it's final laps.

  • by LordK3nn3th (715352) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:22PM (#9069605)
    I wonder how test flights would go. Someone tricking their little brother to "step in the SPACESHIP!"
  • by rms_nz (196697) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:23PM (#9069615)
    fly a ship that can carry three passengers

    I notice it doesn't say what kind of passengers - wonder if mice are acceptable?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, it does [xprize.org].

      "The flight vehicle must be built with the capacity (weight and volume) to carry a minimum of 3 adults of height 188 cm (6 feet 2 inches) and weight 90 kg (198 pounds) each. Three people of this size or larger must be able to enter, occupy, and be fastened into the flight vehicle on Earth's surface prior to take-off, and equivalent ballast must be carried in-flight if the number of persons on-board during flight is less than 3 persons."
      • Insensitive clods! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AtariAmarok (451306)
        "to carry a minimum of 3 adults of height 188 cm (6 feet 2 inches)"

        Dwarfs and midgets have been barred from the Final Frontier. I guess it is back to the mines to look for precious precious mithril.... Oh, and Mini-Me, stop humping the laser!

        • Dwarfs and midgets have been barred from the Final Frontier. I guess it is back to the mines to look for precious precious mithril.... Oh, and Mini-Me, stop humping the laser!

          Nah, they can fly on the X-Prize ships after they've finished going for the prize. It's the giant NBA players of the future who are being barred by such an oversight.
    • The rules are specific that it "can" carry three passengers, but doesn't have actually do. There only needs to be one live human on board.

      However, in order to qualify for the X-Prize money, the space ship must be built with enough space for three people, and must also carry enough ballast weight to make up for the fact that they have less than three people on board.

      You can read the complete rules [xprize.com] for the details.
    • Cats (Score:3, Funny)

      by antic (29198)
      Cats might be able to survive the fall to Earth? Heh. I'll do some tests and get back to you.*

      *JK! I love my cat. He could probably leap up into space. I'm not going to do any tests.
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:24PM (#9069617) Homepage Journal

    I'll just keep calling it "the X prize" until there is more than one.
  • I thought they bought an insurance policy to pay the $10 mil.

    I would have bet that Burt Rutan would have won the prize by January 2005.

    I guess they're cobering the bases so they don't have to go out of business in January.

    The organizational imperative is to survive and stay viable.
  • by thoolie (442789) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:28PM (#9069649) Homepage
    Just out of morbid curiosity, are there any /.ers here who are involved with the X-Prize in any way? If so, do any of these guys have any ideas on what would be next for the X-Prize?

    Could we see a X-Prize space statio? X-Prize moon base? X-prize funded by NASA/ESA/Russia??

    Just look at what DARPA is doing with the Grand Challenge...putting a little money (relative to their budget) twords competitive, civilian projects.

    Thoolie
    • by Goonie (8651) * <`gro.arbmaneb' `ta' `lekrem.trebor'> on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @09:27PM (#9069990) Homepage
      but the well-known Id Software programmer John Carmack has posted on /. from time to time about his X Prize team, Armadillo Aerospace [armadilloaerospace.com].

      As far as the organisers are concerned, I can't recall them ever posting here, but the plan after the X Prize is won by somebody (probably Rutan, at this stage) is the X Prize Cup [xprize.org], an annual festival/competition where teams will compete to launch their craft as high and as fast as they can.

      If they are successful with that competition, I imagine that sooner or later they will propose a private orbital shot.

    • by DerekLyons (302214) <(fairwater) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @10:46PM (#9070423) Homepage
      Just out of morbid curiosity, are there any /.ers here who are involved with the X-Prize in any way? If so, do any of these guys have any ideas on what would be next for the X-Prize?
      The best place on the 'net to keep track of these things is the sci.space.* heirachy on Usenet. Several X-prize contenders post there from time to time (Including Burt Rutan and John Carmak) as well as many folks in the CATS movement (notably Jeff Greason of XCor) and many, many folks knowledgeable about space related things in general.

      (Disclaimer: Like any Usenet group, we have our share of trolls, but most of them are easily identified and kill filed. In general the s.s.* groups have an extremely low tolerance for fools, idiots, and those unwilling to learn. It's a tough place to get started in, but well worth it if you are truly interested in the topic.)

      • No, not Rutan (Score:3, Informative)

        by XNormal (8617)
        There are no posts of sci.space.* by Burt Rutan in recent years (or anyone else of scaled composites ). He is pretty tight-lipped, especially when compared to Carmack.

        You will find, however, many informative posts by the one and only Henry Spencer [lysator.liu.se], author of The Ten Commandments for C Programmers [lysator.liu.se] and possibly the most knowledgeable person in the world about the history of the U.S. space program.
  • Loopholes (Score:5, Funny)

    by AtariAmarok (451306) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:28PM (#9069652)

    As someone already pointed out, it says that the ship has to return safely, not the passengers.

    It does not specify if the passengers have to be alive or not. If you send up corpses, it is easier to keep them intact than it is to keep live passengers alive.

    Mice? Does not say you can't send them instead of humans.

    • Re:Loopholes (Score:5, Informative)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:40PM (#9069736)
      As someone already pointed out, it says that the ship has to return safely, not the passengers.
      Nope. Rule 3 says "Each flight must carry at least one person..."

      It does not specify if the passengers have to be alive or not. If you send up corpses, it is easier to keep them intact than it is to keep live passengers alive.
      It's even stricter than that. Rule 5 says "The crew must return to the Earth's surface from both flights in good health as reasonably defined and judged by the X PRIZE Review Board."

      Mice? Does not say you can't send them instead of humans.
      Nope, but Rule 3 says "person" and I don't think mice count as people.

      Try finding loopholes in the actual rules [xprize.com] instead of the Slashdot summary of them.
      • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@nOSpaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:52PM (#9069802) Homepage
        It's even stricter than that. Rule 5 says "The crew must return to the Earth's surface from both flights in good health as reasonably defined and judged by the X PRIZE Review Board."

        That's a good way to avoid paying.

        Successful Cosmonaut: Hi, I successfully piloted to outer space and back. I'm here for my 10 million.

        X Prize Review Board Member: Uhh...sorry, you have to be in good health.

        Cosmonaut: What? I'm in perfect health. The mission went off without a hitch.

        Board Member: No, you definitely look a little peaked. And let me feel your forehead...Ah, yes, you're burning up.

        Cosmonaut: No, I'm fine, I've never felt better.

        Board Member: You're at death's door. No prize for you.
        • by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @10:54PM (#9070460) Journal
          That's a good way to avoid paying.

          Successful Cosmonaut: Hi, I successfully piloted to outer space and back. I'm here for my 10 million.

          X Prize Review Board Member: Uhh...sorry, you have to be in good health.

          Cosmonaut: What? I'm in perfect health. The mission went off without a hitch.

          Board Member: No, you definitely look a little peaked. And let me feel your forehead...Ah, yes, you're burning up.

          Cosmonaut: No, I'm fine, I've never felt better.

          Board Member: You're at death's door. No prize for you.


          I thought of this. Couldn't help it. (ducks, prepares for loss of karma)
          Bring out your dead!
          CUSTOMER: Here's one.
          CART MASTER: Ninepence.
          DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
          CART MASTER: What?
          CUSTOMER: Nothing. Here's your ninepence.
          DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
          CART MASTER: 'Ere. He says he's not dead!
          CUSTOMER: Yes, he is.
          DEAD PERSON: I'm not!
          CART MASTER: He isn't?
          CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.
          DEAD PERSON: I'm getting better!
          CUSTOMER: No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.
          CART MASTER: Oh, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
          DEAD PERSON: I don't want to go on the cart!
          CUSTOMER: Oh, don't be such a baby.
          CART MASTER: I can't take him.
          DEAD PERSON: I feel fine!
          CUSTOMER: Well, do us a favour.
          CART MASTER: I can't.
          CUSTOMER: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
          CART MASTER: No, I've got to go to the Robinsons'. They've lost nine today.
          CUSTOMER: Well, when's your next round?
          CART MASTER: Thursday.
          DEAD PERSON: I think I'll go for a walk.
          CUSTOMER: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Look. Isn't there something you can do?
          DEAD PERSON: [singing]
          I feel happy. I feel happy.
          [whop]
          CUSTOMER: Ah, thanks very much.
          CART MASTER: Not at all. See you on Thursday.
          CUSTOMER: Right. All right.
          [howl]
          [clop clop clop]
          Who's that, then?
          CART MASTER: I dunno. Must be a king.
          CUSTOMER: Why?
          CART MASTER: He hasn't got shit all over him.
      • Ah, but what about three mice each named "person"?
  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:30PM (#9069664) Homepage Journal
    At least those who do it for "publicities" sake, you can't argue that this investment is a boon to the cause.

    And to risk venturing off-topic for a second,
    I think Ansari X prize should consider expanding there efforts at not just the tech to get us there, but to provide a prize for the think tank that can invent a corporate (manufacturing?) incentive to go there. Basically, show practical applications in space and provide due dilligence.
    Or maybe more on the mark... provide a multimilllion dollar reward for the company that can first create an operable facility in space.

    Yeah... wishfull thinking, but the more efforts put towards extra-terrastial expansion the better I say.
  • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot.stango@org> on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:36PM (#9069712) Homepage Journal
    ...the competition is now known as "Pepsi Presents the Ansari X Prize Competition"

    (Why, yes, this was an obligatory Simpsons reference, [snpp.com] thank you for noticing!)

    ~Philly
  • Ok, i think this can be done fairly cheaply I need:- A couple of guys to dig a really big hole. A Really Big flame proof tennis ball to hold the crew. 2 really strong trees (steel poles will suffice) 1 Big rubberband. A guy with good hand eye coordination and a big catchers mitt. Waste
  • propulsion methods (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Neuropol (665537)
    shouldn't the focus be on propulsion methods first. is the traditional rocket engine efficent enough to make such frequent trips. ion drive [space.com] is looking to be a promising concept
    • Ion may be good for something already in orbit. But...
      "If you want a mission in which you want to reach your destination in a hurry or accelerate quickly, ion propulsion's not for you," Rayman said. "It takes four days to go from zero to 60 (miles per hour). I like to say it's acceleration with patience."

      Not really conducive to climbing out of a well.
    • The focus should be on getting off the earth, and since the ion drive is worthless for that, then no.
    • by phoenix.bam! (642635) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @09:14PM (#9069925)
      This is incorrect. Ion Propulsion is only good for micro-gravity / zero-gravity travel. As it only adds small amounts of energy to the craft built up over a long period of time to reach fast speeds. This method of propulsion is impossible to use (as it is currently implemented) for flights from the surface of the earth into outer-space.
  • by TechnoFreek (758758) <technofreek@fTOKYOastmail.fm minus city> on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:49PM (#9069784) Homepage
    is can NASA take a rocket up 100 km with 3 people, take it down, and put it back up again within 2 weeks?
    • is can NASA take a rocket up 100 km with 3 people, take it down, and put it back up again within 2 weeks?

      No they can't. NASA can't do it today, and they never have done it (or been able to) in the past. And no one else has ever done it either.

      The closest is the X15 flights in the 1960's, some of which went up 100 km, but with only one person instead of three. I don't know whether the X15 ever went 100 km up twice in two weeks, but they probably could have done that (with one person) if they wanted to.
      • You're forgetting about a little project called "Apollo".
        • You're forgetting about a little project called "Apollo".

          You're forgetting about the two week stipulation. The Apollo mission launch dates:

          1. Apollo 7: October 11, 1968
          2. Apollo 8: December 21, 1968
          3. Apollo 9: March 3, 1969
          4. Apollo 10: May 18, 1969
          5. Apollo 11: July 16, 1969
          6. Apollo 12: November 14, 1969
          7. Apollo 13: April 11, 1970
          8. Apollo 14: January 31, 1971
          9. Apollo 15: July 26, 1971
          10. Apollo 16: April 16, 1972
          11. Apollo 17: December 7, 1972

          The Apollo program only once managed two launches of different vehicles in

        • You're forgetting about a little project called "Apollo".

          Apollo never reused the same vehicle for another trip. XPrize requires use of the same vehicle for both trips.

    • Getting it down the second time would be the hard part :)

      You also failed to use the words 'safely' or 'converting all measurments to metric'
    • No, NASA can't do that, not within 2 weeks.

      It gets worse when you note the extra rule that only 10% of the non fuel mass of the craft can be replaced between flights. That pretty much counts out all the Apollo program stuff, even if they had managed a launch in 2 weeks. Also, while I'm not clear on the exact numbers, I suspect those rockets used to launch the space shuttle account for more than 10% of the non fuel mass.

      Of course the Shuttle gets to LEO, which is a much larger step than 100km up, but if
  • by Pavan_Gupta (624567) <`pg8p' `at' `virginia.edu'> on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @08:57PM (#9069832)
    Here's a Biograpy from a company she started:
    Anousheh Ansari
    Founder and CEO
    telecom technologies, inc. (tti)

    Anousheh Ansari is president, founder, and CEO of telecom technologies, inc. (tti), a supplier of softswitch based solutions for network and service providers offering end-to-end solutions for next generation, carrier-grade multi-service networks. Prior to founding tti, Ansari provided consulting services to the major telecommunications service providers and vendors in the areas of Frame Relay and ATM switch testing and evaluation.

    Early in her career, Ansari held positions with MCI Telecommunications Corporation and Communication Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) in various engineering capacities. She worked on architectural design for SS7 and ISDN networks.

    Ansari was recognized by Working Woman magazine as the winner of the 2000 National Entrepreneurial Excellence award, and was chosen as the winner of the 1999 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Southwest Region, for the Technology and Communications category. She has authored numerous technical papers and has two patents for her work on Automated Operator Services and Wireless Service Node. She was a U.S. delegate at ITU SG VII, SG XI and SG XVII, and a representative at American National Standard Institute T1S1 and T1X1 Technical Subcommittees.

    Ansari holds a Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from George Mason University. She is also a member of Eta Kappa Nu, IEEE and NSPE.

    Success
    2000 National Entrepreneurial Excellence Award winner: Anousheh Ansari, CEO and chair of Telecom Technologies on the cover of Working Magazine (May 2000). "Anousheh Ansari once dreamed of being an astronaut while growing up in her native Tehran, Iran. Today the 33-year-old Ansari is turning upstart Telecom Technologies Inc into a force in the telecommunications industry."

  • Company profile for Anousheh Ansari [siliconiran.com]
    Can anybody find Amir's info?
  • Does anyone else think that now, the reward might justify the cost, if maybe only in the mind of venture capitalists? I could imagine some random super scientist going to a VC firm, purposing, estimating risk, then getting such a loan, with the promise of profit for the investors.
  • The article doesn't mention how much they gave, but the X-Prize was originally for $10mil, and that hasn't changed. I expect that the X-Prize foundation had that money set aside, otherwise noone would have taken the competition seriously. So now they have more money, but haven't increased the prize. It would appear it must have gone somewhere.
  • by Zabu (589690) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @09:02PM (#9069872)
    The first to miss gets the Darwin awards.
  • "RODDENBERRY JOINS X PRIZE ADVISORY COMMITTEE"

    I see where this is heading: Gene's son joins the team so he can get close to the launch site. He climbs some scafolding just as that Alaskan sheriff is about to board the ship (Contact). Instead of blowing everything up, Gene Jr. jumps onto said Sheriff with a big bear hug and ends up on board the ship (ST:IV:TVH). They slingshot around the Sun (ibid) where they go back to October of 1955 (BTTF). They steal Doc's DeLorean, drive into the future at 88 mph t

  • The deadline is 7 months away and we have yet to see an actual unmanned test launch. To think that any of these groups could get a ship into space and back with people onboard within that time frame is hard to believe. I'm all for them getting there, but it seems this deadline is almost useless it inspired a lot of research and competition but how much of this is going to fizzle when no one can meet the goal set (while maintaining any margin of safety). It'd be nice to be the first private group into sp
    • It is being done.... See the scaled composite web site for info on their *Manned* test flights.

    • The deadline is 7 months away and we have yet to see an actual unmanned test launch.

      Not true. Check out these tests [scaled.com] . They have a 40 second manned burn under their belts and could probably win the X-prize tomorrow if the paperwork were squared away.

    • Not only has Scaled made several shots, but currently there's a lot of speculation that the Scaled folks are aiming for the culmination of the second flight on either July 17th or the 20th (both rather significant rocketry dates IIRC).

      Armadillo has done hover tests as well. The UK group (starchaser) has done some unmanned testing of their rocket infrastructure as well. I know the DaVinci team is also planning at least one launch attempt this summer/early fall as well.

      Too bad about Armadillo Aerospace, u
  • by McCrapDeluxe (626840) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @09:58PM (#9070180) Journal
    First the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize whore themselves out, and now the X-Prize.
  • Joint Strike Fighter (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @10:04PM (#9070215)
    Just to put this into perspective, the expected financial reward for the company that wins the Joint Strike Fighter contract is $200 billion.
  • by Cruciform (42896) on Wednesday May 05, 2004 @10:29PM (#9070330) Homepage
    Are they having any trouble finding people to ride the prototypes into space?

    I always liked that scene in Dr. Strangelove when Slim Pickins rode the nuclear bomb into oblivion...

    Seriously though, I wonder what the ratio of volunteers to projects might be.
  • Every time I hear about this prize, and I read about Scaled's test flights, I am filled with awe and excitement.

    Awe at the fact that these people (and other teams) are attempting to get 100 km, safely, and reusably. The amount of engineering and knowledge to do this isn't trivial. I have attended high-powered model rocketry events, and to see these things go up 10,000+ feet, which is well under 5 km - and these things take a lot of work and knowledge alone, to get up and back down in one piece. One rocket s

  • When the wealthy people start wanting to come on board with a significant amounts of money, it means the project has a good possibility of success.

Any given program, when running, is obsolete.

Working...