X Prize Winners Get The Check

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$10 Million For SpaceShipOne...

On Saturday, the Ansari X Prize was handed over to the Mojave Aerospace Ventures team, in a field adjacent to the St. Louis Science Center, as a chase plane flew overhead. SpaceShipOne designer Burt Rutan accepted the $10 million check, along with a five-foot-tall, 200-pound trophy. Also present for the event were financial backer Paul Allen and astronauts Mike Melvill and Brian Binnie, and hundreds of people hoping for autographs. "How can a day like today be anything but wonderful when you get a $10 million check?" Rutan said, MSNBC reported. "I feel particularly proud that what we did in winning this prize was not just to build an airplane to fly high enough, but to address the safety issues and the affordability issues for space tourism." After SpaceShipOne's last flight, Rutan said he'd share his portion of the check with Scaled Composites' employees. With orders in the works to develop passenger-carrying spacecraft, Rutan has a lot more work to do. "We've always known that our prize is just a start," said Gregg Maryniak, the X Prize's executive director. "The real prize is the business, opening the frontiers of space for everyone." And maybe the view from space: "It will make a believer out of you that this is a very special place, and we need to take care of it," Melvill said.