Feeds

X-prize race hots up

Canadian challenge to SpaceShipOne

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The race to get an astronaut and privately-owned rocket into space is hotting up. The Ansari X-prize will give $10m to the first team who can get a spaceship able to carry three people into space - defined as 100km above earth. They must return safely and repeat the feat within two weeks.

Last month Mike Melvill was the first mere mortal in space aboard SpaceShipOne. But this was just a test flight. To qualify for the prize they must give notice of any attempt and carry three passengers. And now there's someone on their tail.

A Canadian team, the da Vinci project, has developed a ship called Wild Fire and hopes to be ready for its first ascent in September.

According to this report on Wired.com the leader of the Canadian bid Brian Feeney believes his team will be ready for an attempt in September.

Feeney is a self-taught "entrepreneur and inventor" - he says he spent "part of one year" at the University of Toronto but has no formal qualifications. In contrast to Mike Melvill, who flew SpaceShipOne into orbit, Feeney is not an experienced pilot. Melvill has 7,000 hours flying experience in 138 different planes, Feeney has just 25 hours flying light aircraft.

Feeney pointed out to Wired that he has been doing "intensive simulator training" and that flying an aircraft and spaceship are fundamentally different.

Wild Fire uses a hybrid rocket engine like SpaceShipOne. It will start its journey beneath a 200 foot helium balloon, firing its rockets when it reaches 70,000 feet.

For the conspiracy theorists it should be noted that SpaceShipOne is funded by extremely wealthy ex-Microsoft man Paul Allen while Wild Fire is funded by rival Sun Microsystems and Autodesk. They spent about $3.8m while SpaceShipOne spent about $20m.

More on the X-prize here The da Vinci team website is here and you can see more about SpaceShipOne here. ®

Related stories

Travel to the stars for $1,000
Satellites get smart
SpaceShipOne triumphs

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.