Scaled Composites Wins X Prize!

So I’ve not been posting because I wanted to keep my quest for a free ipod at the top of my blog, but I’ll be returning to regular posting with this post.

I’m a huge fan of manned space flight. I think it’s sad that NASA has basically abandoned manned space exploration. At the same time I’m amazingly happy that there is now a truly private space industry.

This morning Brian Binnie became the second private astronaut as he piloted SpaceShipOne and successfully completed the second Scaled Composites and Mojave Aerospace Ventures to win the $10 million X Prize. In order to win the X Prize a group has to complete two flights to an altitude of 100km with the pilot and two passengers (or ballast equal to two passangers). Mojave Aerospace has completed both flights within one week.

This is about the coolest thing that has happened in my lifetime. We’ve had the capability to increase our activity in space for decades and have not done it. Hopefully the next spaceflight prize will involve putting people into orbit. This also opens up the opportunity for private companies to fund exploration. Could a manned return to the moon be possible outside of government funding? I certainly believe that it is reasonable. Does that make Mars out of the question?

I believe that within my lifetime we will see space travel become as common as air travel is today. There is certainly a desire to travel in space. Scaled has proven that it’s possible without huge government budgets and beauracracy. It’s important to note that the same craft has flown into space THREE times within the past six months with approximatly $20 million in budget for the entire program. I’m very curious to see what the cost per launch is for SpaceShipOne. I don’t imagine that it is very high.

Onward space travellers!