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Ansari X-Prize

SpaceShipOne [Scaled Composites]

Wild Fire Mk.6 [T. Malik/]

Black Armadillo 48'' Test
[Armadillo Aerospace]

Rubicon [Space Transport Corp.]

The Ansari X-Prize is a US$10 Million Dollar prize awarded to the first team, which:

  • launches a piloted, pivately-funded spacecraft, able to carry 3 persons to 100/nbsp;km and
  • returns safely to earth and
  • repeats the launch with the same spacecraft within two weeks.

The X-Prize expired on 1 January 2005.

Following Teams have announced X-Prize attempts:

  • Scaled Composites, LLC (SpaceShipOne):        29.09.2004 & 04.10.2004
  • da Vinci Project (Wild Fire Mk.6):                     06.10.2004 (no show)

Only a few teams actually produced hardware:

  • Armadillo Aerospace has test flown a subscale test vehicle of the Black Armadillo
  • da Vinci Project produced a Wild Fire Mk.6 vehicle, but has not actually flown it
  • Scaled Composites, LLC built the SpaceShipOne and has conducted three successful crewed atmospheric flights and three successful crewed suborbital flights reaching space
  • Space Transport Corp. has built a Rubicon rocket with reduced propulsion, which failed during an uncrewed launch.

The two successful flights of SpaceShipOne finally won the Ansari X-prize.

Purpose of the X Prize

The purpose of the X PRIZE is to promote the development and flight of spaceships able to provide low-cost commercial transport of humans into space. The most important rules are:

  1. As a condition of entering and becoming a participant in the X PRIZE Competition, entrants will be required to first agree to be bound and abide by the rules, decisions and interpretations which will be further promulgated by the X PRIZE Rules Committee and its designated representatives. Entrants will also be required to agree to fully cooperate with the X PRIZE Review Board in monitoring X PRIZE entrants and competition requirements.
  2. Flight vehicles will have to be privately financed and built. Entrants will be precluded from using a launch vehicle substantially developed under a government contract or grant. Entrants will be prohibited from receiving any direct funding, subsidies, and grants of money, goods, or services from any government (or otherwise tax-supported entity). Entrants will be permitted to utilize government facilities if access to such facilities is generally available to all entrants. Any such goods or services used in connection with the competition must be available to other entrants on similar terms. Entrants will be permitted to utilize subsystems previously developed by a government agency that are currently available on a commercial or equal-access government-surplus basis, or for which manufacturing rights and specifications are available on an equal-access basis.
  3. The flight vehicle must be flown twice within a 14-day period. Each flight must carry at least one person, to minimum altitude of 100 km (62 miles). The flight vehicle must be built with the capacity (weight and volume) to carry a minimum of 3 adults of height 188 cm (6 feet 2 inches) and weight 90 kg (198 pounds) each. Three people of this size or larger must be able to enter, occupy, and be fastened into the flight vehicle on Earth's surface prior to take-off, and equivalent ballast must be carried in-flight if the number of persons on-board during flight is less than 3 persons.
  4. The second flight must demonstrate economical vehicle reusability. It is the X PRIZE Rules Committee's intent that the winning flight vehicle should exhibit sufficiently low per-flight costs such that the flight vehicle will support low-cost space access. Toward this end, no more than 10% of the flight vehicle's first-flight non-propellant mass may be replaced between the two flights.
  5. The crew must return to the Earth's surface from both flights in good health as reasonably defined and judged by the X PRIZE Review Board. The flight vehicle must return from both flights substantially intact, as defined by and in the sole judgment of the X PRIZE Review Board, such that the vehicle is reusable.
  6. Entrants must specify and provide the X PRIZE Rules Committee with their take-off and landing location, and the date of their launch, not less than 30 days prior to any flight attempt.
  7. The X PRIZE Competition is international in nature and is open to all qualifying entrants who agree to be bound and abide by the rules which shall be further promulgated by the X PRIZE Rules Committee and administered by the X PRIZE Review Board.

X-Prize Website:

Team Active Spacecraft Type Country Remarks:
Acceleration Engineering X Lucky Seven Single Stage Rocket, Parafoil landing USA
Advent Launch Services X Advent Vertical water launch, horizontal water landing USA Website
Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Assoc. (ARCA) X Orizont Single stage rocket with separable capsule Romania Website
American Astronautics Corp. X Spirit of Liberty Single stage spaceplane, vertical launched, parachute landing on water USA Website
Armadillo Aerospace X Black Armadillo Single stage mono-propellant rocket with integrated capsule, parachute recovery USA Website
Bristol Spaceplanes, Ltd. X Ascender Spaceplane, horizontal launch and landing USA Website
Canadian Arrow X Canadian Arrow Two stage vertical launch, parachute water landing Canada Website
da Vinci Project X Wild Fire Mk.6 Balloon launched hybrid rocket, spherical capsule, parachute landing Canada Website
Pablo de Leon & Associates X Gauchito Clustered hybrid rockets with capsule Argentina Website
Discraft Corp. Space Tourist Horizontal take off and landing USA
Flight Exploration Green Arrow Single stage rocket, parachute landing UK
Fundamental Technology Systems X Aurora Single stage space plane, horizontal take off and landing USA Website
High Altitude Research Corp. X Liberator Two stage rocket design based on German V2 USA Website
IL Aerospace Technologies X Negev-5 Balloon launched rocket, parachute landing Israel
Interorbital Systems (IOS) X Solaris X liquid-propelled, vertical take-off and horizontal landing USA Website
Kelly Space and Technology LB-X Single stage spaceplane, towed horizontal launch, horizontal landing USA Website
Lone Star Space Access Corp. Cosmos Mariner Single stage space plane, horizontal take off and landing USA Website
Micro-Space, Inc X Crusader-X Clustered rocket, vertical launch, parachute landing USA Website
PanAero, Inc. SabreRocket Sabre-40 jet modified with rocket propulsion USA Website
Pioneer Rocketplane, Inc. X XP Single stage space plane, horizontal take off, air refueled and horizontal landing USA Website
Scaled Composites, LLC X SpaceShipOne Air launched, hybrid fueled single stage space plane, horizontal take off and landing USA Website
Space Transport Corp. X Rubicon Clustered solid rockets with capsule, parachute landing USA Website
Starchaser Industries X Starchaser-5 / Thunderstar Solid and liquid fueled rocket with capsule, parachute landing UK Website
Suborbital Corporation Cosmopolis-21 (C-21) Air launched, solid fueled single stage space plane, horizontal take off and landing Russia
TGV Rockets X M.I.C.H.E.L.L.E.-B Clustered rocket, deployable aeroshield, parachute landing USA Website
Vanguard Spacecraft X Vanguard Eagle Two stage vertical launch, parachute water landing USA


Source: X-Prize Website

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