Los Angeles, CA, March 24, 2000 JP Aerospace, a Sacramento area company, plans to launch a privately financed and developed rocket system on Saturday, March 25, 2000, in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.
This test flight is expected to reach 100 kilometers, or 62.5 miles in altitude. According to JP Aerospace, ongoing tests are planned. If their rocket can reach a minimum altitude of 200 kilometers, or 125 miles, this achievement will qualify them to compete for the "Cheap Access To Space" (CATS) Prize being offered by two Los Angeles-based nonprofit organizations, the Space Frontier Foundation and FINDS (the Foundation for the International Non-governmental Development of Space).
"The $250,000 cash CATS Prize is designed to inspire the future Henry Fords and Thomas Edisons of space, and to send a signal that anyone can participate in the opening of the space frontier, not just governments," said Foundation President Rick Tumlinson.
Offering a prize for technological achievement has been used in the past, from the golden age of exploration to Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic. "Prizes have jump-started imaginations and helped knock down barriers," added Tumlinson. He feels this project will help change people's thinking about who can play in the space arena.