Los Angeles, CA, September 27, 2004 – The Space Frontier Foundation announced it will present awards next month to Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites Tier One Team, and to the X-Prize Foundation, for their dramatic contributions in opening the space frontier.
“This has been an amazing year for space,” said the Foundation’s Rick Tumlinson. “One would have to be on another planet not to have noticed there is a revolution underway in human spaceflight, and these two organizations are leaders in that revolution. We are proud to be able to recognize their accomplishments.”
Voted on this summer by the Foundation’s Advocates, the prestigious “Vision to Reality Award” is given only to those who have “pulled off” a successful frontier-enabling project. This year’s winner, Scaled Composites, led by famed aircraft designer Burt Rutan, and funded by billionaire Paul Allen, flew the first private human-piloted spaceship into space this June, a historic achievement the Foundation believes “blew the hinges” off the door to space. Past winners include the team that put Dennis Tito into space, Boeing’s Sea Launch rocket team, SpaceHab and others.
“The flight of Burt Rutan’s Tier One ship to the edge of space this summer was truly groundbreaking in many ways,” remarked Tumlinson. “His team demonstrated that it doesn’t take billions of dollars to get into space. Their flight heralded the beginning of a new space age.”
The X-Prize Foundation, which is receiving the “Founders’ Award,” is offering a $10 million Ansari X Prize to the first team to fly to the edge of space and return, two times in a period of two weeks. The Foundation believes this goal has spurred a wave of new entrants into the spaceflight arena, seeded innovation, and created a new awareness that space is not just an incredibly expensive government domain.
“The Ansari X-Prize has inspired teams all over the world to come together and try to do what was once thought of as impossible,” Tumlinson explained. “It’s incredible seeing real spaceships being built with very little funding across the globe, from Argentina to Israel to the USA. By offering $10 million, an amount that in the space field is a relatively small sum, the X-Prize Foundation has made a priceless contribution to the cause of opening space to everyone.”
The awards will be presented at the Foundation’s conference, held on the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach California, October 8-10, 2004. This conference is open to the public. For further information and registration go to: