www.whyville.net Jan 2, 2004 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

The X-Prize

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I'm not sure about everyone, but I'll bet most of you have never heard of the X-Prize. Twenty-six teams from around the world are financing, designing and building crafts in order to snag the $10 million prize also known as "The Race to Space."

The spaceship must be launched 100 kilometers from Earth into the sub-orbital cusp of space, then return safely. A successful launch must then be repeated within two weeks.

Canadian Arrow, one of two Canadian teams vying for the prestigious award, is opening up the world's first commercial astronaut training centre. The chosen applicants will be able to train as astronauts, costing $5,000 to $35,000. The initial sub-orbital flights will run at approximately $100,000.

In spring the team leader, Geoff Sheerin, aims for an unmanned test launch from a lake barge near Sarnia, a city that borders on Lake Huron.

About 35 private donors and corporations are involved in the project, and the six-member team is drawing ever closer to glory and fame. They already made history a few weeks ago when they successfully tested their half-million horsepower rocket engine.

Many feel the X-Prize will open up commercial space flight, while others are skeptical about whether or not our current technology is advanced enough. In any case, this contest may be over by the end of 2005.

Good luck to all, and reach for the stars! :)


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