Headlines > News > Canadian team prepares to roll out space ship

Canadian team prepares to roll out space ship

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Wed Jul 28, 2004 3:32 am
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chabot imagectv.ca: TORONTO — A Canadian team vying for a $10 million US space flight prize is preparing to roll out a completed spacecraft next week and could launch within months.

The da Vinci Project team, based in Toronto, will unveil Wild Fire at a Downsview Airport hangar on Aug. 5, team leader Brian Feeney announced Tuesday. “It’s a milestone for the project,” said Feeney from Santa Monica, Calif., shortly after attending the official announcement with X Prize officials.

“It’s the largest volunteer technology project in Canadian history. Maybe in any country’s history,” he said.

His is one of 26 teams from seven countries competing for the Ansari X Prize. The contest will award $10-million US to the first team to safely launch and return a privately developed three-person craft 100 kilometres into sub-orbital space twice within 14 days. The other Canadian team in the race is Canadian Arrow, based in London, Ont.

Feeney shared the spotlight Tuesday with the competition’s established leaders, American Mojave Aerospace Ventures, who announced they have scheduled the first official competition flight on Sept. 29 and hope to achieve a second as early as Oct. 4.

The well-funded team is a partnership between Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and renowned aerospace developer Burt Rutan. They made history a month ago while testing their SpaceShipOne craft, making the first privately financed manned spaceflight in history. It was not an official competition flight.

Feeney wouldn’t say exactly when his Canadian effort will make their first flight, but says they are competitive and he expects to be in the air by fall – depending on fundraising efforts.

“What separates us are dollars. We’re measuring things hour by hour, day by day,” he said, adding financing of less than $350,000 could fire his effort into space.

“It’s not about technology, not about the engine, not about the balloon. We’ve overcome every technological hurdle that one can do,” he said.

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