X Prize Launch Set For Wednesday At Mojave; Canadians On Hold


Following its successful test flight in June, the American Mojave Aerospace team, led by Burt Rutan and backed by Paul Allen, plans to launch its first official flight in pursuit of the $10 million Ansari X Prize on Wednesday. This week’s launch will be followed by a second required flight, tentatively set for Monday. The public is invited to both launches — gates open at 3 a.m., parking passes cost $20. For those who can’t make it to Mojave, the launch will be broadcast live on the Internet starting at 6 a.m. PST on Wednesday, and AVweb will be on site to deliver coverage in our regular Thursday edition. In other X Prize news, the Canadian da Vinci Project, the closest team on Rutan’s heels, has postponed the launch planned for Saturday (Oct. 2) in Saskatchewan. The da Vinci team said a key component of the spacecraft was not ready, and will cause a delay of several weeks. “We’re still a go for launch,” said Brian Feeney, leader of the project. “We’ve made milestone progress since the early August arrival of our title sponsor, Golden Palace.com, and we intend to prove that Canadians can and will put a man into space.” Starting Sunday, the Discovery Channel will broadcast a series of programs about the X Prize competition, called “Black Sky: The Race for Space.”