One small st.... yeah yeah
November 8, 2004 9:07 PM   Subscribe

Move over X-Prize - in order to win the next big space prize($50 million) one will have to build a spacecraft capable of taking a crew of no fewer than five people to an altitude of 400 kilometers and complete two orbits of the Earth at that altitude. Then they have to repeat that accomplishment within 60 days.
posted by sourbrew (15 comments total)

 
A HA! The rules don't say anything about the passengers surviving the mission. Score one for the loophole!

Also, when I think Bigelow Aerospace inflatable space habitat, I can't help but think of it being shaped like one of those big dragons filled with little plastic balls you see had birthday parties.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:14 PM on November 8, 2004


Nice observation Stan!

This should be pretty easy, I've got a totally bitchin' set of tools and a big stack of plywood. Who wants to go on the first launch?
posted by fenriq at 9:16 PM on November 8, 2004


Actually, sourbrew, this is very cool news. I'd put smart money on Burt Rutan taking this one too.
posted by fenriq at 9:18 PM on November 8, 2004


You know this aerospace tourism thing... I think there's something to it. At first I thought it was just a bunch of dotcom flybys fulfilling their youthful fantasies. Now that people are looking to invest and continually invest large sums into this, we could really be looking at history.
posted by geoff. at 9:28 PM on November 8, 2004


I guess my dumb joke brings up a very serious issue in all of this... What's going to happen if/when an attempt suffers casualties trying to win the prize?
posted by Stan Chin at 9:41 PM on November 8, 2004


Stan Chin - A new realm for high risk insurance.
posted by sourbrew at 9:52 PM on November 8, 2004


I'm sure they will have signed a waiver.

Open only to American companies and residents? That just seems cheap. And, as a foreigner, totally uninteresting.
posted by cardboard at 9:54 PM on November 8, 2004


While Burt's X-Prize winner was one heck of a pretty vehicle, achieving LEO is going to take an order of magnitude more money and technology. $50 million is kinda small-time for what could revolutionize the artificial satellite industry.

I mean, OK, I offer the CD-PRIZE of $5.00 to anyone who can send a vehicle with 10 people in it to Mars and back again, then repeat it within a week. That's kinda what this is like.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:03 PM on November 8, 2004


The X-Prize was also less than the costs - both prizes are largely symbolic, y'know?
posted by abcde at 10:12 PM on November 8, 2004


I'll bet Carmack can write something that makes you feel like you've just gone around the globe twice in a spaceship...before he gets one the work.
posted by wah at 11:00 PM on November 8, 2004


C-D, one would think that achieving the first space tourist vehicle would secure a pretty decent return on long term investment.

The $50 million is bragging money for people like Rutan.
posted by fenriq at 11:35 PM on November 8, 2004


I dunno, fenriq. While it's technically a "space vehicle," you're only weightless for a very short time, and during that time you're pretty well strapped-in, so no floating around in zero-g. When you can catch a ride on a Soviet ship for a cool million, who's going to spend serious dough for what really just amounts to Space Mountain with a higher chance of fatality? (And yes, I realize Space Mountain has so far killed more people than SS1, I'm being slightly facetious).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:49 PM on November 8, 2004


A HA! The rules don't say anything about the passengers surviving the mission. Score one for the loophole!

Might work once, but I'll bet it would make the 60-day repeat flight VERY difficult to recruit volunteers for.
posted by rushmc at 12:07 AM on November 9, 2004


Open only to American companies and residents?



AMARIKA WINS AGIN!!!11!
posted by Keyser Soze at 2:26 AM on November 9, 2004


C-D, yeah, I remembering seeing a thing on Discovery about the Vomit Comet that does those huge rollercoaster climbs and descents.

Down the road, yeah, I'm all over a space trip. Just think, we'll have the 250 Mile High Club! That alone is worth all the investment in space, zero-g sex. Ohhhh yeah!

And Keyser's comment nearly destroyed my laptop by me spitting coffee all over it. Classic!!!!!1!!!
posted by fenriq at 8:28 AM on November 9, 2004


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