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RACE TO SPACE IS OFF AND RUNNING -X PRIZE (SM)
ANNOUNCES TEN TEAMS TO COMPETE

XP PRESS RELEASE 97-01 (2-28-97)


RACE TO SPACE IS OFF AND RUNNING -X PRIZE (SM)
ANNOUNCES TEN TEAMS TO COMPETE

XP PRESS RELEASE 97-01 (2-28-97)

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Copyright Antigravity News and Space Drive Technology
   Vol. 1, No. 1, July-August 1997, p. 10.
All Rights Reserved.
Permission is Granted to Copy, Forward, or Post
   with this Unaltered Notice kept intact.
The AGN Website is at:  http://www.padrak.com/agn/
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ST. LOUIS, MO. USA, --Feb. 28, 1997-- The St. Louis based X PRIZE Foundation announced today that 10 teams have registered to compete in the first private race to space. X PRIZE Foundation chairman and founder, Dr. Peter Diamandis, stated, "We are looking for a 21st century Charles Lindbergh. The X PRIZE challenges the premise that only superpowers can launch people into space. The winner of the X PRIZE will permanently open the door for passengers to travel into space and lead to a new generation of low-cost, commercial spaceships.

The X PRIZE is a $10 Million prize to jump-start the space tourism industry through a competition between the most talented entrepreneurs and rocket experts in the world. Following in the footsteps of over 100 aviation prizes offered during the first part of this century, which created today's multibillion dollar air transport industry, the X PRIZE will be awarded to the first private spaceship capable of lifting three people to an altitude of 62 miles (beyond the edge of space) on two consecutive sub-orbital flights within two weeks. All teams must be privately financed.

"We decided the best way to focus and motivate potential competitors was through a cash prize," said Diamandis. "The diversity of technological approaches which the teams are taking towards winning the X PRIZE is outstanding. We are opening the door to some radical designs which might not otherwise be considered by the traditional aerospace industry.

Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites was the first to announce his intent to compete for the X PRIZE. "The chance to fly out of the atmosphere, coast up to 100 kilometers, and come back wearing the badge of an official, world-recognized astronaut is exciting!" said Rutan. "I believe that we are going to have space tourism and I am tired of waiting for someone else to do it. Compared to the difficulty, danger and expense of flying in the 1920's, in relative numbers, leaving the atmosphere is a piece of cake.

Dr. Robert Zubrin of Pioneer Rocketplane, the third team to register, said, "We are competing for the X PRIZE because it is providing a focus for us and others in the development of new and much more efficient launch systems. The same vehicle that we are developing for the X PRIZE competition will be able to launch satellites at half the current price or be able to fly passengers from New York to London in less than one hour.

"The X PRIZE couldn't come at a better time," said Gary C. Hudson of HMX Inc., the second team to register. "This competition could well become the America's Cup of Space.


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Mar. 25, 1998.