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$50 million dollar - orbital space race launched

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posted on Oct, 7 2004 @ 11:14 AM
LOS ANGELES - A Las Vegas hotel magnate who is hoping to build the world's first commercial space stations on Tuesday launched a challenge offering $50 million to the creators of the first privately funded spaceship to reach orbit.

Robert Bigelow, who owns Budget Suites of America, formally announced the long-rumored prize just a day after the first privately funded spaceship rocketed out of the atmosphere and won the $10 million Ansari X Prize, which was designed to spur commercial spaceflight.

Bigelow acknowledged that reaching orbit would be much harder than briefly popping into space as SpaceShipOne did.

"To be honest, I think it's a long shot," he said of any team's chances of winning the prize by 2010 as required.

[edit on 7-10-2004 by elevatedone]

posted on Oct, 7 2004 @ 11:22 AM
Let the games begin. Yay for the chaos its going to bring.

Nice post, The race is on.

posted on Oct, 7 2004 @ 11:54 AM
When, and yes I say when, space travel is a common thing for the everday citizen to be able to participate in...

will you do it ?

I definitley would... looking forward to it.

posted on Oct, 7 2004 @ 11:56 AM
As long as I dont need to spend tons of cash to do it.

posted on Oct, 7 2004 @ 03:40 PM
Its become clear to everyone that finally space travel is coming to the masses.

posted on Oct, 7 2004 @ 03:43 PM
I'm very excited about this...

and I agree.... it will be very expensive at first.... but like everything else, before too long, just about everyone will be able to afford to take a space flight...

I hope I'm still around for it...

posted on Oct, 7 2004 @ 04:32 PM
They say that they want a craft that goes up 100 miles, and in the future (probably around 20 years) they want a space station hotel. Wonder how they plan on keeping the station up from gravity bringing it back down to earth? The ISS in 250 miles up and even that still needs the space shuttles thrusters to move it back up and it also uses the soyuz capsules as well.


posted on Oct, 7 2004 @ 07:09 PM

Originally posted by Murcielago
They say that they want a craft that goes up 100 miles, and in the future (probably around 20 years) they want a space station hotel. Wonder how they plan on keeping the station up from gravity bringing it back down to earth? The ISS in 250 miles up and even that still needs the space shuttles thrusters to move it back up and it also uses the soyuz capsules as well.

Good question. Though I would guess that the ISS has no thrusters of its own to boost its orbit. Hence the need for the Shuttles thrusters. I'm guessing a space hotel would have it's own thrusters to keep it's orbit and if not, it would probably be getting enough visits (more than the ISS for sure) by other ships that could give it a boost. That's what i'd guess anyway.

posted on Oct, 7 2004 @ 10:26 PM
I think that it will probably have ion engines on it, since they dont produce to much thrust and can go along time. I remember reading a year or so agoe that Nasa tested a ion thruster and they had it on for 3 years straight with no problems, which is part of the reason they will probably use them for the JIMO mission.

I doubt that the "space hotel" will get there thrust from the spaceships, because I dont think they will have thrusters that powerful, long lasting, and advanced. SpaceShip One uses compressed oxygen (like what scuba divers use) and have valves, and thats how they get control of the craft in zero-g.

ion thruster

posted on Oct, 7 2004 @ 11:07 PM
If you watch the Discovery Channel show Black Sky which is all about Scaled Composites efforts to win the X Prize, you can see a segment where Burt Rutan describes the hierarchy of his tiered space program. Then, go to Scaled's site and you'll see that the White Knight and Space Ship One are Tier One craft...fringe of space, 62 miles up.

Tier Two...low earth orbit.

Tier three...I forget...a little help

and Tier four...again, a little help

but he mentioned four and if that's not enough to get you curioius...

What's going to be next in Burt's bag of tricks?
Scaled has completed 34 manned research aircraft. None were announced until they were ready to fly.

-from Scaled Composite's Web Site
Tier One General FAQ's

Our concept design work began in 1996, and some preliminary development began in 1999. Our full development program began in secrecy in April 2001. This extensive experimental research effort is a complete manned space program. It consists of all new hardware including a launch aircraft [the White Knight], a three-place spaceship [the SpaceShipOne], a hybrid rocket propulsion system, a mobile propulsion test facility, a flight simulator, an inertial-nav flight director, a mobile mission control center, all spacecraft systems, a pilot training program and a complete flight test program. All our hardware components are full-scale, full space-capable performance, not mockups or interim vehicles.

How SpaceShipOne Works

Inventory of equipment reusable or scalable for orbital and beyond travel:
Hybrid Rocket Propulsion System,
Mobile Propulsion Test Facility, check
Flight Simulator, check
Inertial-Nav Flight Director, check
Mobile Mission Control Center, check
Space Craft Systems, check
Pilot Training Program, check
Flight Test Program, check

During the June press conference, Rutan alluded to a second-generation vehicle that would tote more tourists. “It makes an enormous difference to fly 6 to 10 people,” he noted. SpaceShipOne incorporates a scalable design that could balloon in size without necessitating significant changes to its shape. Such a craft would not only be larger but would fly higher than SpaceShipOne, to give more “time to unstrap and float around,” Rutan says. Frank Macklin, an engineer at SpaceDev, a company that built components for SpaceShipOne’s hybrid rocket, says it’s feasible to build a rocket motor large enough to power a suborbital bus.

-from Popular Science
Liftoff for Space Tourism?

Burt Rutan also said in 2004 "we're heading for orbit sooner than you think".

Tier One

If only you could buy stock in Mojave Aerospace Ventures. They're winning the America's Space Prize, I'm confident of it. They have over five years for crying out loud!

posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 12:14 AM
Virgin Galactic has signed up with Scaled Composites, and in 3 years you can pay $190,000 for a sub-orbital trip, if i remember right it will go 130km (80 mi) high and carry 5 people.

This new 50 Million Dollar Prize can be snaged with a 5 person capacity ship that can go 100 miles up, so its possible that Richard Branson will put more money into this and tell burt that he wants a different better rocket that can go 20 miles higher then there current one in the plannings, if thats the case then yes I believe Scaled Composites will win the 50 mill prize. I dont think Virgin Galactics Richard Branson has a choice of 80 or 100 miles, because if he offers a 80 mile high trip in 2007 then in 2010 other companies will be offering a 100 mile high trip, which would obviously put a huge probably fatal dent in Virgins pocketbook.

So by the simple fact that Scaled Composites & Virgin Galactic wont have a choice, I would agree that Burt Rutan will take that prize as well.

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