Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Slashdot | SpaceShipOne Captures the X Prize

Slashdot | SpaceShipOne Captures the X Prize: "
SpaceShipOne Captures the X Prize

Posted by CmdrTaco on Tuesday October 05, @01:20AM
from the takes-two-to-tango dept.
SpaceShipOne's second flight was a success, the craft successfully launching from mothership White Knight and returning safely about 20 minutes later. If the flight is certified to have reached the X Prize's target height (62.5 miles) before its safe return, it will win the $10 million purse, and more importantly attain the prestige of repeatably (if only technically) reaching space, on a budget embarrassingly smaller than NASA's. Today's flight was manned by 51-year-old test pilot Brian Binnie (rather than Mike Melvill, who piloted last week's trip), and according to spectators present at both launches seemed even smoother than last week's flight. The view from the sidelines was incredible. flapjack submits a link to CNN's coverage of the launch (which lists a claimed height attained of 368,000 feet), noting 'Interesting to note that a majority of its funding ($20-$30 million) was put up by Microsoft's own, Paul Allen.' See also the official X Prize site for continuing live coverage"

This is so cool - it's the first time in a long time I've felt we're on the dawn of a new era. With Richard Branson launching Virgin Galactic as probably the first serious space tourist outfit, it means we'll need to develop a whole new set of rules for safe "mass" travel in space. What do you with rubbish, explosive bolts and other detritus? Whose responsibility is it to track it? Or even clean it up? Exciting times.


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