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Press Release
Media Contact: 800-787-7223 or press@space-frontier.org
Go Burt Go! Space Frontier Foundation Applauds First X Prize Flight

Burt Rutan
Burt Rutan. Photo courtesy The X Prize.
Mojave, CA, September 29, 2004
– The Space Frontier Foundation applauded the first successful X Prize flight by Scaled Composites today and wished the team good luck on their second flight.

"The X Prize has inspired and excited people around the world about space," said the Foundation's Rick Tumlinson, who acknowledged that Burt Rutan and his partner, billionaire Paul Allen, spent well over the $10 million dollar purse to build and fly their spacecraft. "This isn't about the money. It is about opening the frontier. It is about showing the world that the space game isn't just for multi-billion dollar government players," said Tumlinson.

The Foundation's members see the X Prize competition as a harbinger of dramatically lower costs to put people and payloads into space. They acknowledge the great difference between sub-orbital flights, which involve much lower speeds and do not have to deal with the intense heat and other forces encountered by orbital vehicles, but they still believe contrasts between the X Prize effort and plans for a new NASA shuttle replacement (where some estimate over $25 billion is going to be spent to develop a space capsule) are valid.

"Sure, orbital flight is a lot harder to do than sub-orbital, but a thousand times harder? I think not," Tumlinson commented. "I think this shows it is time for the government to get out of the Earth-to-space transportation business and back to exploration."

The Foundation is hopeful that the success of the X Prize will convince the government to offer prizes and contracts to a variety of commercial firms, rather than trying to operate its own vehicles. It supports new prize initiatives and believes the development of a New Space industry carrying both commercial and government people and payloads into space is the only way NASA can afford to carry out plans to go back to the Moon and on to Mars.

"This summer Burt Rutan and his team blew the hinges off the door to space with their first flight. Now they are showing they can keep that door wide open for all of us," said Tumlinson. "Scaled Composites and the X Prize are proving that access to space can be made routine, which means costs will drop and more and more people will get to go, including government astronauts on their way to the Moon and Mars."

Both the X Prize and Scaled Composites will be receiving Awards from the Foundation at its thirteenth annual conference on RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach California, October 8-10, 2004. Also in attendance will be many alternative space firms and other X Prize team members and leaders.

For further information and registration go to:

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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