Headlines > News > SpaceDev Delivers Rocket Motors for X-Prize Attempt

SpaceDev Delivers Rocket Motors for X-Prize Attempt

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:49 pm
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chabot imagePOWAY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sept. 13, 2004–SpaceDev (OTCBB: SPDV) after recently completing work on a full duration, maximum energy, ground test firing of a more powerful version of the rocket motors destined for SpaceShipOne, SpaceDev has assembled and shipped the rocket motors that will be used for the upcoming historic attempt by SpaceShipOne to win the $10 million Ansari X-Prize. The hybrid rocket motors burn rubber and laughing gas (HTTP and N2O).

At its facility in Poway, CA, near San Diego, SpaceDev has finished casting the HTTP fuel into three discardable motor cases, assembled and integrated SpaceDev’s proprietary technology into the motors, and has shipped them to Mojave, CA in preparation for the upcoming flights. A less powerful version of this motor powered SpaceShipOne to fly well beyond 50 miles altitude, and created the world’s first private sector astronaut on June 21, 2004.

The two X-Prize launches are currently scheduled for September 29, and October 4, 2004. The Discovery Channel is planning to air a two-hour special about the project on October 2nd.

Paul Allen’s SpaceShipOne uses proprietary propulsion technology developed by SpaceDev. SpaceDev is working on various propulsion projects, including SpaceShipOne, the SpaceDev Streaker(TM) family of small expendable unmanned launch vehicles for small satellites, SpaceDev’s proposed reusable manned space ship, and a scalable space tug, all being worked on under various private sector and government contracts.

“SpaceDev is ushering in a new era, ‘The Era of the Non-Exploding Rocket Motor’,” said Jim Benson, founding chairman and chief executive of SpaceDev. “During hearings on President Bush’s Commission on Implementation of U.S. Space Exploration (the “Aldridge Commission”), a representative of a large aerospace company stated that they had developed the only new rocket motor in the U.S. in the last thirty years and that it only cost $500 million, and it only took five years. Furthermore, they wanted $200 million more to “man-rate” it. SpaceDev testified that SpaceDev had helped develop a new rocket motor for a manned application. The new motor was developed for less that $10 million and the program took less that two years. These big companies simply cannot compete with revolutionary, lower cost technology produced by fast moving, entrepreneurial companies like SpaceDev.”

“This is like the microcomputer revolution,” said Benson “with SpaceDev helping to revolutionize the $100 billion space industry with microsatellites, and with hybrid-based propulsion systems for delivering cargo and people to space, safely and affordably.”

Under a separate government contract, SpaceDev is developing the SpaceDev Streaker(TM) — a family of small, responsive and affordable launch vehicles, using non-exploding hybrid rocket motor technology developed by SpaceDev with higher performance than the ones developed for SpaceShipOne or other traditional hybrid rocket motors. The single-stage SpaceDev Streaker(TM) is planned as a target or sounding rocket, and is expected to be priced below existing competition. The three-stage version is being designed to launch a microsat, similar to SpaceDev’s revolutionary CHIPSat, from anywhere in the world, on 24-hour notice, from a C-17A cargo plane. The four-stage mobile ground launched version of the SpaceDev Streaker(TM) is being developed to put 1,000 pounds of payload into low earth orbit, and is expected to be priced below currently planned or existing domestic small launch vehicles.

SpaceDev, using government projects, internal funding, and capital from the Laurus Master Funds of New York, is developing what SpaceDev believes is a practical concept for safe, affordable, fully integrated manned space flight systems for both sub-orbital and orbital applications. With the potential that NASA will follow the Aldridge Commission recommendations to better utilize private sector companies, there may be new contract and funding opportunities for concepts and innovative space technology being developed by SpaceDev.

“We believe that these safe, lower-cost, replaceable hybrid rocket motors are the largest rocket motors of this type ever developed, and are the first hybrid motors ever used for manned space flight. This is the beginning of the Second Space Age,” continued Mr. Benson. “Manned flights using our propulsion technology have demonstrated that the private sector can develop safe human space flight faster and perhaps better than larger, more expensive government programs. This is a major breakthrough for the private sector, and could trigger a private sector space race. We believe that the old space paradigm is broken and is being replaced by a better one.”

About SpaceDev

SpaceDev (OTCBB: SPDV) creates and sells affordable and innovative space products and solutions to government and commercial enterprises. SpaceDev’s innovations include the design, manufacture, marketing and operation of sophisticated micro- and nano- satellites, hybrid rocket-based orbital Maneuvering and orbital Transfer Vehicles (MoTVs) as well as sub-orbital and orbital hybrid rocket-based propulsion systems for safe human space flight. Upon founding SpaceDev in 1997, Jim Benson started the trend of successful computer entrepreneurs moving into the space development arena. For more information, visit www.spacedev.com.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements concerning the Company’s business and future prospects and other similar statements that do not concern matters of historical fact. Forward-looking statements relating to product development, business prospects and development of a commercial market for technological advances are based on the Company’s current expectations. The Company’s references to non-explosive motors directly relate to the zero TNT equivalent rating of its hybrid rocket motors and that they do not detonate notwithstanding the fact that any pressure vessel may rupture but not “explode” like a solid or liquid rocket motor. The Company’s current expectations are subject to all of the uncertainties and risks customarily associated with developing business ventures including, but not limited to, risks associated with new product development and availability of raw resources and suppliers, risks to marketed products and availability of financing and other sources of income, as well as risks discussed in the Company’s periodic reports filed with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. The Company’s actual results may differ materially from current expectations. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements contained in this release and to read it in conjunction with the Company’s annual report on Form 10-KSB, including the consolidated financial statements filed therewith. The Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or for any other reason.

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