Feeds

Cheap rocket crumbles in hunt for $10m space prize

Three dummies wounded

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Only dummies were wounded yesterday when a low-budget rocket trying to make its way to space blew up over Washington.

Space Transport Corp. (STC) saw its $20,000 Rubicon 1 rocket travel a few hundred feet in the air and then explode due to a malfunction. The rocket crashed near its takeoff spot after a parachute failed to open, and three dummies inside the 23-foot long craft also turned into debris. STC has been trying to get into space on the cheap as part of its effort to win the $10m Ansari X-Prize awarded to the first team to put a privately manned craft with three passengers into space. The team must bring back the passengers safely and then repeat the effort within two weeks to claim the cash.

"We need to raise some more money ... fix our problems and launch another low-altitude flight as soon as possible," Eric Meier, a cofounder of STC told The Associated Press. "It's a learning experience to be expected when you're developing a vehicle with this kind of capabilities."

STC has raised $220,000 so far, but reckons it will take $400,000 to have a real chance at the X-Prize, according to information on its web site. The exploded rocket cost the team $20,000 to build.

The space quest is similar to the Grand Challenge race being put on by DARPA in which a $2m prize is offered to any team that can have a robot vehicle travel across the desert at speed. In both cases, groups are turning to the private sector instead of government bodies to try and spur technological innovation.

In June, SpaceShipOne - funded by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen - became the first privately-built craft to reach the lower bounds of space.

STC had been looking for its rocket to reach supersonic speeds. The craft will have to be rebuilt from scratch.

Around 25 other teams are going after the $10m prize. ®

Related stories

Beckham penalty outrage ball heads for space
Rutan bagsies 'shotgun' in SpaceShipOne
X-prize race hots up
SpaceShipOne triumphs
SpaceShipOne readied for 21 June launch
US edges closer to private space flight

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?