As indicated all odds, the x-Price was for SpaceShipOne, the craft created by the team of Paul Allen (Microsoft) and Burt Rutan (aerospace pioneer), sponsored by Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic newly founded company.
On October 4, Brian Binnie at the controls of SpaceShipOne, rose for the second time in less than 5 days to 112 kilometers high, setting the record at altitude ever reached by a private ship.
The jury of the x-Price declared winner, and offered a prize of 10 million dollars, the first spacecraft to consiguiese for 2 consecutive times in less than a fortnight, placed 100 Km. High, on a manned spacecraft that could carry the weight of 3 people and was able to land again at the Mojave Airport.
SpaceShipOne it is owned by the company Mojave Aerospace Ventures, which Paul Allen, cofounder of Microsoft and space pioneer Burt Rutan, are founding members. Both have also been the designers and creators of this spacecraft, which has cost more than 20 million.
just before the SpaceShipOne made its first flight in the x-Price, Richard Branson announced at a press conference a few days ago, that Virign Galactic, one of his most recent corporate creations, had commercialize space flight with SpaceShipOne, a from 2007. "We hope to become "astronauts" 3,000 people over the next five years and to realize his dream of majestic admire the beauty of our planet and stars in all their splendor and enjoy the amazing sensation of weightlessness"He explained an elated Richard Branson at a news conference.
El precio del billete, que incluye un curso formativo de tres días de duración, alcanzará en un primer momento las 115.000 libras (unos 169.000 euros). La nave que espera contratar Vigin Galactic es un nuevo SpaceShipOne (que se llamará SpaceShipTwo :) ), que tendrá capacidad para 5 personas y un piloto, y que empezará a construirse a finales de este mismo año.
Aparte del hecho que varios magnates se están ahora dedicando a construir naves espaciales (ya comentábamos en un artículo anterior, que hay rumores fundados que apunta a que Jeff Bezos [Amazon] ha fundado la Blue Origin, empresa que se dedicará al turismo espacial), sin duda, el éxito del SpaceShipOne abre la era del turismo espacial.
Y aunque el x-Price ya tenga ganador, obviamente, el resto de los equipos participantes (24 equipos), van a luchar para ser ellos quienes consigan convertirse en “el primer vuelo de turismo espacial”. Esta lucha es la que realmente llevará a dar comienzo a la nueva era. El equipo canadiense de Da Vinci Group, ya ha vaticinado que serán ellos quienes consigan este hito.
The private sector takes the lead
If anything has shown the x-Price is the aerospace development has gone through the same turning point happened aviation after World War II: the private sector takes over research and developments and seeks to monetize offering services To the general public.
But all is enthusiasm and high hopes ... the first critics have already appeared and I do emphasize the danger of these flights and the fact that "private companies are normally willing to take risks that state enterprises would not take"... NASA dixit (from the disasters of the Challenger and Columbia, going on eggshells in all missions and any new error which perishes a human, will involve reducing its budget and questioning of all projects).
Another issue is the profitability of these flights ... How many people will be willing to pay the price of tickets that will take you to see the Earth from space? ... I guess there will always be "Dennis Tito" (the character who paid several million Orbital travel to the International space Station, 3 years) willing to pay whatever it takes to see our blue jewel from space ... but then to make profitable investments in the short / medium term ... we'll see.
A new award
For the moment, continue to encourage private space race, the National Space Society has announced a prize of 50 million, offered by billionaire Robert Biguelow, for the first private spacecraft to get into orbit.
We will see who will win ...
Further information on the x-Price:
Official of X-Price:
Press release which Richard Branson announced that flights would market starting 2007:
Video and photographs of participants in x-Price
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