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Drew Ex Machina

The Spaceflights of SpaceShipOne

21 Jun 2020, 13:55 UTC
The Spaceflights of SpaceShipOne
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

During the opening decades of the Space Age, crewed spaceflight was restricted to programs sponsored by the world’s largest governments. In order to spur civilian commercial efforts in low-cost crewed spaceflight, the X Prize Foundation (a non-profit organization founded in 1994 that designs and hosts public competitions intended to encourage technological development to benefit humanity) announced a competition in May of 1996 to build and fly the first non-government-developed, reusable crewed spacecraft. Modelled after prizes to spur developments in aviation during the early 20th century, the $10 million “X Prize” (renamed the “Ansari X Prize” after a sizable donation by entrepreneurs Anousheh Ansari and Amir Ansari in May 2004) was offered to the first non-government team to build a reusable spacecraft and fly it into space, as defined by the 100-kilometer Karman line, twice within two weeks.
Over two dozen teams across the globe competed for the Ansari X Prize and the glory of being the first to exploit a potential commercial frontier. As time passed it was clear that only a handful of the competitors had any realistic chance of winning the prize and in the end only one won the Ansari X Prize 8½ years after it was ...

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