Headlines > News > Space Tourism Pioneers, Space Adventures and the Ansari X Prize

Space Tourism Pioneers, Space Adventures and the Ansari X Prize

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Thu Feb 16, 2006 7:18 pm
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The only company to have sent tourists to space partners with the leading space visionaries to develop suborbital spaceflight launch systems

Arlington, Va. – February 16, 2006 — Space Adventures, Ltd., the world’s leading space experiences company, announced today a contract with Prodea, a private investment firm founded by the Ansari family, and a separate contract with the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation (FSA), to develop a fleet of suborbital spaceflight vehicles for commercial use globally. This joint venture will fully develop and provide a set of turnkey operational space tourism systems that include the delivery of several suborbital launch vehicles to multiple global locations.

Prodea co-founders, Hamid, Anousheh and Amir Ansari are best known as the title sponsors of the Ansari X Prize, the $10 million (USD) prize that was awarded to Mojave Aerospace Ventures, funded by Paul Allen, for the development and successful flight of SpaceShipOne. “Our goal in supporting the X Prize was to launch a new space industry through the introduction of commercial suborbital spaceflights. We partnered with Space Adventures because they have proven that there is a market for space tourism by having been the first company to fly a private citizen to space, and remains today the only company to have actually taken tourists to space,” said Anousheh Ansari, a true space visionary and an outspoken advocate of commercial space travel.

“The Ansari X Prize inspired and enabled the future of private spaceflights by proving that the necessary technology can be developed commercially,” said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures. Both Mrs. Ansari and Mr. Anderson agreed, “Our visions for opening the space frontier are completely aligned. This joint venture will enable millions of people to realize their dreams of spaceflight.”

The suborbital space transportation system has been designed by Myasishchev Design Bureau, a leading Russian aerospace organization which has developed a wide-array of high performance aircraft and space systems. Explorer, as it has been named, will have the capacity to transport up to five people to space and is designed to optimize the customer experience of space travel, while maintaining the highest degree of safety.

“The design plans for Explorer have been perfected over the years and we, at Space Adventures, along with Prodea, have the utmost confidence that this joint venture will enable operations of the world’s first commercial suborbital spaceflights,” said Mr. Anderson.

“After much consideration and examination of the FSA’s plans for suborbital vehicles, given their successful 45-year human spaceflight history and their clear world leadership role in the operations of commercial space activities, I feel completely confident in Explorer. This vehicle is being developed by a group of the most qualified designers and engineers in the world that have the most experience, the highest safety standards and are responsible for the most reliable and longest serving manned spacecraft in the world,” said Mrs. Ansari.

Additionally, Space Adventures also announced that an agreement had been reached between Space Adventures and FSA which confirms FSA’s oversight and supervision in the development process. “As they have demonstrated in many past efforts, the Russian space agency’s commitment to this new and pioneering project will expedite its eventual success,” said Mr. Anderson.

About Space Adventures:

Space Adventures, the first and only company to have successfully launched private explorers to space, is headquartered in Arlington, Va. with offices in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Moscow and Tokyo. It offers a variety of programs such as orbital spaceflight missions to the International Space Station, commercial missions around the moon, Zero-Gravity and MiG flights, spaceflight qualification programs, cosmonaut training, and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts. The company’s advisory board comprises Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, shuttle astronauts Kathy Thornton, Robert (Hoot) Gibson, Charles Walker, Norm Thagard, Sam Durrance, Byron Lichtenberg, Pierre Thuot and Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott. For more information, please visit www.spaceadventures.com.

About Prodea:

Prodea is about innovation. As a fully funded and self-contained entity, we choose to engage in the organic, start-to-finish development of a small collection of exceptional ideas. We select businesses with real potential for profound impact across multiple verticals, leveraging our knowledge, experience, and world-class network of relationships to bypass traditional barriers. We collaborate with visionary entrepreneurs determined to revolutionize their field in the areas of telecom, biomedicine, aerospace, multimedia, and significant social undertakings. At Prodea, our involvement extends far beyond providing funds; our emphasis is on the process of building a relationship with innovators, on working together to turn great ideas into successful companies. To learn more about Prodea, please visit www.prodea.com.

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