SpaceShipOne Countdown Starts

Neowin previously reported about SpaceShipOne's initial launch and successful flight. Yesterday, they officially announced their run for The X Prize and to prove once and for all that space exploration isn't restricted solely to government space programs.

The new space race is really on. Aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan announced at a press conference at the Santa Monica Airport on Tuesday that his SpaceShipOne team will make a bid to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize with flights between late September and mid-October from Mojave, California.

Rutan designed SpaceShipOne with $20 million or more in backing from Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen. The ship became the first privately financed manned vehicle to reach space during its suborbital test flight on June 21.

"We have notified the X Prize organization that we'll make our first X Prize flight on Sept. 29 -- of this year," Rutan said. To win the prize, competitors must make two flights with a three-person craft to suborbital space -- 100 kilometers above the Earth -- in two weeks. Rutan said his team, officially dubbed American Mojave Aerospace Ventures, is planning three flights in the two-week prize window ending Oct. 13.

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News source: Wired News

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