Thursday, July 22, 2004

Attempt on the X-prize?

There are rumours, likely to be true, that the Ansari X-Prize organisation are soon to announce an attempt at the X-prize. This is a $10m prize for a ship capable of taking 3 people just into space twice in a fortnight. Burt Rutan, the designer of SpaceShipOne (pictured) is likely to announce his attempt.
The picture shown reminds us that none of this stuff is risk free. It is a rare picture, taken in the hanger of Scaled Composites (the company that built the ship) immediately after the flight into space. It shows how a bit of faring was torn off during the flight. This was the loud "bang" that pilot Mike Melville heard during the trip.
It isn't, actually, a very important bit of the craft. It was mainly put there for the purpose of appearance and to give slightly improved aerodynamics.

Damage to SpaceShipOne