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da Vinci Project and Kindersley Article

Published by spacecowboy on Sat May 15, 2004 8:46 am
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chabot imageIn the blink of an eye, a model rocket nearly two metres long is blazing toward the endless prairie sky on the outskirts of the town of Kindersley, off Highway 7 between Saskatoon and Calgary. Up, up, up it goes until the “Mean Machine” is reduced to a speck 300 metres overhead.
Nathen is still clutching the launcher, beaming through the smoky haze left behind by the solid-fuel Estes D12-7 rocket engine. “The bigger engines are better,” beams the 12-year-old boy. “They leave a big cloud!”
And they won’t get much bigger than the one coming this summer. Just a little east of Petrowsky’s rural home, not far from where seven wild antelope were resting in the field earlier this day, a Toronto man will attempt a feat that could transform this Saskatchewan town’s life — perhaps even your own — forever.
Brian Feeney of the da Vinci Project will try to reach space in a privately built, reusable vehicle. It’s part of a global competition, the Ansari X Prize, intended to kick-start space tourism and inspire a new generation of space dreamers.
On an (as yet) unannounced morning this summer, the visionary 45-year-old will climb into the rocket-powered “Wild Fire” capsule he helped design. That capsule will be tethered to a reusable helium balloon and lifted into thin air to 24,400 metres. Then the fun really begins.
At the optimum moment, the tether will be released and the rocket engine ignited. Then, in a bone-rattling 75 seconds, Feeney will blast heavenward to an altitude of 100 kilometres — high enough to be officially considered an astronaut (and fulfill one of several X Prize requirements). God willing — certainly Feeney is — Canada’s newest astronaut will safely touch down in the Eston-Elrose area, about 60 kilometres away. Read MoreAn other da Vinci Project Article

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