Headlines > News > Canadian Arrow team still confident in space race

Canadian Arrow team still confident in space race

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Sun Aug 8, 2004 2:09 am
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chabot imagevia hobbyspace.com: A London team is still in the running for a multimillion-dollar international prize, despite a Toronto-based rocket being declared ready for takeoff Oct. 2, the team leader said yesterday. Geoff Sheerin, head of the London-based Canadian Arrow squad, said while Toronto’s da Vinci Project may be among the first rockets to the launching pad, that doesn’t mean it will win.

“If you look in the history books, all aviation races had some really well-funded groups ahead of the ultimate winners,” he said.
“You can be the fastest to the finish line and still trip and fall.”

Sheerin’s six-member Canadian Arrow team is one of about 24 teams competing for a $10-million US prize.
The first team to launch a manned rocket at least 100 kilometres in space twice in two weeks will win the Ansari X prize, bankrolled by a U.S. foundation trying to speed up development of private space travel.

While the Canadian Arrow team has faced some funding difficulties, it will start unmanned test flights within the next two weeks, Sheerin said.
The London-area response to the project has not been as high as expected, he said.
“The wealth is here, it’s just not really waking up,” Sheerin said.
A major corporate sponsor would make a big difference for the squad, he said.
“But we’ll be doing those flights very soon.”
Sheerin wouldn’t divulge where the test flights will take place, only saying they will happen off one of the Great Lakes.
After four months of test flights, the Canadian Arrow team plans on launching its competitive flights from a barge in Lake Huron, near Sarnia.
But the team — made up of commercial and military pilots and one Ukrainian astronaut — may not be based out of London at takeoff time.
The Fanshawe Park Road East site where the Canadian Arrow team is based has been sold to Hudson Boat Works, which will take over the site in September.

“Unfortunately for London it may mean they lose their space program, which in the long run is a serious blow,” Sheerin said.
Unless someone steps up to take on the bulk of sponsorship, the Canadian Arrow team may find a new home in Windsor, Barrie or Sarnia, he said.

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