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Press Release
Media Contact: 800-787-7223 or press@space-frontier.org
Foundation Congratulates Scaled Composites for Breaking Sound Barrier, Calls for Washington to Support New Spaceships by Breaking Regulatory Barriers

SpaceShipOneBurt Rutan
Top: SpaceShipOne on the tarmac. Bottom: Inside the SpaceShipOne cockpit. Photos courtesy Scaled Composites, Inc.
Los Angeles, December 17, 2003 – The Space Frontier Foundation congratulated Scaled Composites Inc. on breaking the sound barrier with their new space vehicle SpaceShipOne. The Foundation points to this event as yet another indicator that a new commercial space industry is developing in the U.S. that will revolutionize access to space.

"Of all the celebrations and events being held across the nation to commemorate the first flight of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, this flight is the most important, the most appropriate and the most relevant," stated Foundation Founder Rick Tumlinson. "Like the Wright Brothers, Scaled Composites is opening the next level of flight to the general public, and doing it without government money."

SpaceShipOne is a prototype for vehicles which will carry paying passengers and payloads to the edge of space on sub-orbital flights. The Foundation has long supported the rise of what it calls the Alternative Space (Alt.Space) firms and activities such as those being carried out by Scaled Composites. The group sees the flight of the vehicle as a breakthrough, and an indicator that the first sub-orbital flights are not far behind.

"Burt Rutan has once again led the way into a new arena of flight, and right behind him are several other firms such as XCOR Aerospace, also in Mojave (and which is also conducting flight tests) TGV Rockets of Maryland, Armadillo Aerospace in Dallas and several others," said Tumlinson. "This next year is going to be the year space begins to open to the people."

The Foundation is calling on Congress and administration officials to support this new potential industry by passing legislation that would streamline the regulatory process and allow these experimental spaceships to transition to commercial operations. In question is the fate of the Commercial Space Act of 2003, HR 3245, which is now under discussion on the Hill, and which they believe will do just that.

"As Burt Rutan and the folks at Scaled Composites are showing, the technical challenges can be overcome. But we must act quickly to cut the red tape or these space ships will end up tied to the ground," Tumlinson continued. "If the Wright Brothers had been forced to jump through the same bureaucratic hoops that face the commercial spaceship industry, they would still be building bicycles. These firms need help now."

The Space Frontier Foundation is an organization of people dedicated to opening the Space Frontier to human settlement as rapidly as possible. Our goals include protecting the Earth's fragile biosphere and creating a freer and more prosperous life for each generation by using the unlimited energy and material resources of space. Our purpose is to unleash the power of free enterprise and lead a united humanity permanently into the Solar System.

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The Frontier Enabling Test
Our definition of a "frontier enabling" technology or policy is one which has as its effect the acceleration of the creation of low cost access to the space frontier for private citizens and companies, enables or accelerates our use of space resources, and/or accelerates the rate at which wealth can be generated in space. In other words, is the project or policy going to provide a return on the national investment, if we define "return" to be the economically sustainable human habitation of space?

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