Rocket Ahead

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On the 100th anniversary of the first flight by Wright brothers, Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites became the first private company to send up a piloted rocket at supersonic speeds.

And unlike the ancient space shuttle, the SS1 is fully reusable—hint hint.

NEXT: The LP's Battle of the Boortz

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  1. This is exciting news. I had never even heard of the X-Prize Foundation. It’s encouraging to see that there’s a competitive marketplace for deep, practical space-flight R&D. Anything to let the air out of the gasbag known as NASA. Hint, hint, indeed.

  2. The current X-Prize vehicles are being designed for suborbital flight. If there is an actual market for that sort of thing that will allow for boot strapping, it’s likely that whoever wins (as well as some of the runners up) will fight over that market and capitalize sufficiently to get to the next level. If not, it’s more than likely that a new prize with a higher goal of LEO would be set. The space shuttle may be ancient but it will do more than the X-Prize winner. I wish all the best to the contestants but it is unrealistic to think that their current generation vehicles will be serious contenders for replacing the shuttle.

  3. TM,
    That’s not the point. The X-prize is just the new Orteig prize. Single engine planes didn’t put ocean liners out of business either. But it was a milestone. Just as this is a milestone, and a mighty big one too IMHO.

    The X-prize claimed within a year? I had no idea we were this close, WHOO HOO!

  4. Doing it on the 100th anniversary of an earlier audacious but successful private experiment in powered flight was a wonderful touch.

  5. Mark Oakley at Rocket Man Blog has an excellent series of posts detailing individual entries in the X-Prize competition. He interviewed a number of the participants, and he knows of what he speaks.

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