St. Louis, MO (January 27, 2003)Ė Four new teams, the first Israeli team and three new American teams, have registered with the X PRIZE Foundation to compete for the $10M "X PRIZE." This brings the total number of X PRIZE entrants to 24 teams from six countries: Argentina, Israel, Romania, Russia,† UK, United States.
To win the X PRIZE, teams must privately finance, build and fly a three-person spacecraft 100 km (62 miles) to the edge of space, return safely, and then demonstrate the reusability of their vehicle by flying it again within two-weeks. A winner of the X PRIZE is expected within the next 12-24 months. The goal of the X PRIZE is to make space travel frequent and affordable for the general public.
The X PRIZE competition, the first-ever space-based incentive competition, follows in the footsteps of more than 100 aviation incentive prizes offered in the early 20th Century, that created today's $300 billion-dollar commercial air transport industry.† The most significant of these prizes was the Orteig Prize, won by Charles Lindbergh for his 1927 flight from New York to Paris.
"Today, there are fewer than 20 commercial launches into space each year and none are manned. The public tourism market can drive the launch industry by providing the demand for thousands of launches for adventurers who desire to fulfill their dreams. Such a high market demand offers the opportunity to change the paradigm of space travel and create a truly commercial industry," said Founder and Chairman Dr. Peter Diamandis.†
† "We hope the X PRIZE will do for space travel what the Personal Computer did for the computer industry in the 1980's.† Instead of having to spend $20M to go to orbit, we believe the first private sub-orbital tickets to space will cost less than $100,000/person.† Flights aboard X PRIZE-class ships could eventually drop to below $30,000 per ticket."
Each of the 24 X PRIZE teams have approached private spaceflight with a different solution. Entrants include a "traditional" six-story high rocket-powered vertical takeoff ship, to a rocket-powered "glider" that ignites its engines after being towed to 40,000 feet by a Boeing 747.† One teamís spaceship will take off from the water, and anotherís will use a reusable balloon as its first stage.††