For a direct link to the USA space programs home page click either of the following links, however we encourage you read the the following article on Private Space Travel. Here you go Kennedy Space Center
SpaceShipOne made three flights, the first a shakeout, to just work out any kinks and the the 2nd and 3rd in close succession to Claim the X Prize. The first successful flight of the attempt for the X Prize was piloted by Michael Melville, a test pilot and friend of Burt Rutan. During the first space flight there was an unanticipated rolling (a total of 29 time in just a few seconds). Mike Melville was able to get it under control and his entry into space and the the history books was achieved. For the next spaceflight it would be test pilot Brian Binnie's turn to fly SpaceShipOne, and so he did. On Oct. 4, 2004, only 5 days later after the first successful spaceflight, SpaceShipOne made its second successful trip to space, capturing the $10 million prize. Orbital flight was not achieved nor required, only that the spaceship reach 100 Kilometers above the earth and return safely. This now clears the way for commercial travel into space.
To see a high resolution photo of Earth as seen through from SpaceShipOne click the thumbnail.
If you can spare a couple of hundred thousand Dollars (US) you may want to contact Sir Richard Branson the founder of Virgin Atlantic who is formulating plans to offer trips, based on the SpaceshipOne's success (see below) . However there were several contestants in the X prize, some of which plan to continue pursuing the concept of public space access.
Interorbital Systems is pressing on with its plans to open the space frontier to tourists. Interorbital is currently constructing two new rockets: the Nano, which will send tiny satellites into orbit, and the Neptune, a rocket capable of ferrying up to eight people into orbit. The team plans to compete for the America's Space Prize that is being offered by entrepreneur Bob Bigelow for a private vehicle that can carry passengers to Earth orbit. "The fact that this orbital prize has come up is really interesting to us," team co-leader Randa Milliron stated.
If you would like to see these other projects then you may follow these links and you will return here when you close out the new windows. Click on any of the following links to take you to the corresponding space developers site, we believe you will find it them very interesting: Interorbital Systems Environmental Aeroscience Corporation or Space Dev.
Several investor groups are devising ways to create space hotels. Sorry no outside swimming pools.
Things are happening at Virgin Atlantic or rather Virgin Galactic. According to the newsletter that we received, several thing are in the works:
To visit the website of Virgin Galactic you may follow this link.
The Xprize organization has started an annual event to promote private space travel called the X PRIZE CUP and it will be held in Las Cruces New Mexico. The first one was held in October of 2005 and attracted 15000 space enthusiasts. For powerpoint slide show of the proposed X PRIZE CUP click Here.
We encourage you to return here frequently for any changes or news as this field is likely to rocket onwards.
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