...And X PRIZE Plans Broadcast

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Of course, the legislators are barely a step ahead of the actual creation of commercial human spaceflight. In fact, the X PRIZE Foundation is so confident that private rockets vying for its $10 million prize will start flying soon, it's signed a deal for the broadcast rights. Dan Rayburn has been retained to produce a series of three-hour webcasts on any of the more than 20 X PRIZE contestants that get to the manned, live firing stage. Rayburn said he plans to use the latest (what else?) streaming video technology to broadcast each event and that a huge worldwide audience is likely. Sponsorships, of course, will be available but don't look for beer commercials or cola challenges. The spots will be reserved for technology companies "who wish to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event." The FAA is on board with the latest developments. The agency has committed a $11.9 million budget for its commercial human spaceflight regulatory arm, but the House Science Committee is worried not enough is being done to support the existing commercial space launch industry. The committee, in its assessment of the 2005 federal budget, said it's concerned that "burdensome and costly launch regulations ... will undermine the competitiveness of the existing U.S. expendable launch industry." The committee also wants the FAA to be more aggressive in helping U.S. commercial space providers to do business with the government.