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The X-Prize Cup Experience

Posted by: The Legionnaire - Sun Aug 10, 2003 3:50 pm
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The X-Prize Cup Experience 
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Post The X-Prize Cup Experience   Posted on: Sun Aug 10, 2003 3:50 pm
The X-Prize Cup will hopefully be a great success, building on the momentum created by the X-Prize.

However, the X-Prize Cup will only be a great success if people come. And that brings me to my questions about the visitor's X-Prize Cup experience:

1. Will (s)he be able to see anything? For safety, the viewing platforms will be at least a mile away. I don't know if just watching the televisions will cut it.

2. Will the excitement hold throughout the day? After all, if only two or three launches occur per day, visitors will have hours of "down time."

I'd especially like to hear from those of you who have gone to analogous events, whether the Oshkosh airshow or a space shuttle launch.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Aug 28, 2003 6:10 pm
perhaps spaceports could have multiple launch pads to accomodate more launches per day?


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Post    Posted on: Mon Sep 01, 2003 12:43 pm
The potential spaceports are hoping to make it more of an experience than just a bunch of people sitting around with binoculars. Have a look at what the Cape Canaveral Spaceport is thinking of here...
http://www.floridatoday.com/news/space/stories/2003b/082603xprize.htm
And yes, multiple launch pads would likely be used.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 16, 2003 11:47 pm
The way I always see it in my mind is something on the scale of a Worlds Fair. You could have all of these different companys in a central "Exhibition" area showing off what kind of spacey high-tech stuff they sell, you could have demonstrations of various new products, mabey and art gallery filled with stuff people have invisioned about the futere of space travel ect. You could even have interactive mock-up versions of some of the launch vehicles! And of course, themed food venders is a must...

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Post Orbital XPRIZE Cup   Posted on: Sat Oct 25, 2003 1:07 am
After the XPRIZE flight is achieved, the next step is orbital flight.

I can see sporting events in space with huge advertising revenue. Maybe as part of an Orbital XPRIZE Cup.

How much would Nike, Gatorade, Miller Lite, Cadillac, Citigroup pay to advertise OUT OF THIS WORLD?

What sport will be the first in space?


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jul 30, 2004 10:53 pm
Interesting topic. I never quite thought through the obstacles to having an exciting Xcup experience. If this truly is going to be an annual event, there is a lot of groundwork that needs to be laid in place. I would say there is a lot of work to do to get things ready in time for the first one in 2006. I like the idea of equating it to a World's Fair. I think this would/should be the ultimate goal.

However, there is a lot of effort and capital required to build it up to that level. First off, there's the whole transportation issue. There probably should be a way for spectators to get close to the various launching sites (when not being used) and a focal base of information/operations of the various team members, not including a centralized coverage/activities center. As has been mentioned with the launch distances and safety, the Cup would be spread out over a large area, and might require some sort of tram system....

As for activities, I am thinking of how the Cape is set up, with museum/information/giftshop/food centers a ways away from the launch pad.

However, as mentioned earlier, different from the Cape will be the amount of down time. People will be coming to *see* the many launches, and will want to stay for an extended amount of time. (are we thinking 1-3 days?) This downtime isn't too much of a deterent for the obsessed. (I recently went to a Pumpkin Chunkin' festival in Deleware, spent hours at the event, and there was a lot of downtime, but you found a way to kill time.....just as you wait hours to see a shuttle launch).

But for the average joe, who if this is to be a commercial success, the problem of downtime needs to be rectified. Here is where the World's Fair idea kicks in. There needs to be *entertainment* to fill the gaps. I'm thinking space rides/simulators/videogames/internet/museum exhibits.

How would all this get arranged? If there is heavy interest, I can see businesses moving in. (the reverse "if you build it, they will come") But until then, how do you create a success? And would all this new construction not be used for the other 11 months? (especially if the site is in the middle of nowhere??) And how to you make sure that the entertainment is high quality? (think of the cheesy museums in Roswell, NM, or the sad Superman museum in Metropolis, IL)

And futhermore, how do we recaptivate the public's attention in space travel? Shuttle flights had become passe, but everyone looked up when Columbia was destroyed. Crowds are drawn to the Air and Space museum, and the new Annex, but not in the numbers wanted for the XCup. (and why travel all the way there, when you can get your space fix in DC?) Xprize flights are novel, but fleeting. You won't believe the number of people who still haven't heard about SpaceShipOne, or that a space race is underway....

I think the XCup experience is up in the air at the moment. Without some huge marketing blitz, how in the world could it become larger than the land speed races out on the salt flats which draw attendence only in the hundreds or thousands?

Argh! I wish my background was in business and marketing instead of anthropology....

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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:56 pm
Binarysunrise, you definitely raise a lot of issues. I'm inclined to think the "experience" isn't very feasible and may even run counter to the ideals of the X Prize itself. If Cape Canaveral Spaceport got it's vision off of the ground, it would basically mean monopolizing the location of the X Prize Cup launches. And in an industry like space travel (where large vehicles are extremely difficult and expensive to move about) it would almost mean localizizing the entire industry.

Now, it would definitely be cool to have some sort of annual event celebrating the year's achievements. Maybe some of the vehicles could be flown in, and reps from other teams showing up with displays, etc. A launch or two from teams that can just "show off" their stuff would be extremely exciting, as well.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Aug 05, 2004 12:20 pm
Hello, binarysunrise,

here is a thought coming to me right now.

There are several science fiction authors having realistic thoughts and ideas - Ben Bova and Arthur C. Clarke for example. Why not inviting them to the CUP? They might offer author lessons of their books - concentrated to that parts that have to do with the CUP, the XPRIZE spaccrafts - they might talk to the people over ideas and dreams that seem to become possible and much more.

Other persons may be SF-authors of movies tofill the gaps - well-known good movies. Provide tickets included in the spectator ticket of the CUP.

What about that?



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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 09, 2004 2:11 pm
Think about this report from the EAA's 2004 AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin: "Although total estimated attendance figures show a 10- to 12-percent decrease from the enormous 770,000 figure from 2003, due to weather, economic factors and other reasons, EAA President Tom Poberezny found little over which to be disappointed following this year's event." http://airventure.org/ (emphasis added)

So who actually goes to AirVenture? Pilots and aviation buffs. There's no real "entertainment". A whole lot of commercial vendors selling technical stuff ("I hear Garmin's new instrument line's supposed to be good..." "Oh, aren't those new Mooneys pretty little airplanes?") that most people that don't fly have no clue about ("Okay, so what exactly is the difference between apparent airspeed, true airspeed, and groundspeed?"). But it still draws over a half a million people.

Granted that aviation is much more firmly established than astronautics, but if Oshkosh draws tourists (just on the number of planes involved), couldn't a space show draw even more tourists, especially if drawings for rides were done, or even rides conducted at cost or at a slight loss? Not to mention if a decent marketing drive is enacted, and real entertainment (World's Fair style) is provided.

With something like this, start out by thinking big, and then scrap that little idea and think bigger.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 10, 2004 2:56 am
spacecowboy wrote:
So who actually goes to AirVenture? Pilots and aviation buffs. There's no real "entertainment". A whole lot of commercial vendors selling technical stuff..........But it still draws over a half a million people.



Holy cow! I take back a few of my qualms about the XCup. I had no idea that there was such an enthusiastic aviation crowd. (I always thought my wife's uncle, who flew to Ohio just to see an aviation museum, was kinda odd, but now he might be the norm). Huh. If we can tap into the aviation crowd (which it seems like we can), this could work :)

'Course the other side of me still hates how we pay so little attention to rocketry. I finally saw a 10 second blurb on the news regarding the Xprize - a video of Rubicon's explosion - but it was lumped between footage of a Chinese kid trapped in a well, and some Germans with an annual soap box race.... Ah well.

But you have given me hope :)
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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 10, 2004 7:53 pm
binarysunrise wrote:
I finally saw a 10 second blurb on the news regarding the Xprize - a video of Rubicon's explosion - but it was lumped between footage of a Chinese kid trapped in a well, and some Germans with an annual soap box race....


Heh, yeah. Several months ago (way before the launch), Rutan got a 10- or 15-second blurb down here that came right before the feature story -- a fifty-person brawl. I thought about complaining to the station, but decided that it wouldn't do me any good.

Uh, let me guess... Your wife's uncle went to Dayton, more specifically the Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum. He picked good: it was the largest aviation museum in the States (if not the world) before NASM opened it's Dulles branch, and WPAFB still might be first, I'm not sure. It's got some aircraft that came directly out of classified programs to be put into the museum, and is almost certainly the most complete military aviation museum in the world -- has planes from just about every country that ever made 'em.

In case you haven't guessed already, I've been there before (although it's been a long time). My grandmother lives in southern Indiana, and we made a sidetrip to Wright-Pat one time to see the museum. Very very cool.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:01 pm
spacecowboy wrote:
Your wife's uncle went to Dayton, more specifically the Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum. He picked good: it was the largest aviation museum in the States


Yep, you picked the right one. So how do we get some sort of similar museum set up near the Xcup? I'd seem nice to have a good museum, instead of a cheap wannabe museum....

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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 11, 2004 5:26 pm
binarysunrise wrote:
Yep, you picked the right one. So how do we get some sort of similar museum set up near the Xcup? I'd seem nice to have a good museum, instead of a cheap wannabe museum....


Well, you could always start with a display of Rutan's designs....

I might point out here that Oshkosh doesn't have much of a museum: the fly-in itself is a sort of portable once-a-year museum (they have everything from Curtiss Jennies to the only flying B-29 to current military displays). Also that the best museums of spaceflight are (and will remain for a long time) in Cape Canaveral, FL, Huntsville, AL, and Baikonur, Russia.

But if you're looking for a space museum in New Mexico (where the Cup is supposed to be held), then try here: http://www.spacefame.org/index.html. Or you can do what I did to get that link: Google "museum spaceflight new mexico".

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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 21, 2004 9:50 am
What about... Car races too?

Rocket-propelled, that is. :D

Not kidding, it would make a nice sideshow, dragracing on steroids if you want, and it has its roots in rocketflight too. The first tests w liquid rockets in Europe were done on cars...

I could be a great income of sponsorship, a nice proof of safety/ease of use etc...


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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 21, 2004 2:13 pm
And besides all of that, it would be just plain awesome. I go to the Gatornational Drag Races up in Gainesville every year and when ever they have jet/rocket cars, you can be sure than everyone with a ticket is there watching, not wandering around the pit area or the shops... That was a good idea IMHO rxke... thumbs up :D

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