Mojave, CA, October 4, 2004 – The Space Frontier Foundation today congratulated the successful final X Prize flight by Scaled Composites today, calling it the beginning of a new American Space Age.
“The X Prize has drawn attention to the dawn of the new American Space Age, a living, breathing, civilian space program,” said the Foundation’s Rick Tumlinson. “The world now knows that space is not a government program, but the birthright of all humanity, and that the private sector is stepping up to the plate and getting in the game in a big way.”
The Foundation’s members see the X Prize competition as the beginning of a flood of successful private sector projects that will put people and payloads into space. They predict that these beginning sub-orbital flights will be orbital and eventually lunar flights.
“There is no limit to what the private sector can do,” Tumlinson remarked, “and future prizes by the private sector and the government will keep the incentives coming for great accomplishments. Most of all, today’s flight shows it is time for the government to get out of the Earth-to-space transportation business and back to exploration.”
The Foundation is hopeful that the success of the X Prize will convince the government to offer prizes and contracts to a variety of commercial firms, rather than trying to operate its own vehicles. It supports new prize initiatives and believes the development of a New Space industry carrying both commercial and government people and payloads into space is the only way NASA can afford to carry out plans to go back to the Moon and on to Mars.
“This summer Burt Rutan and his team blew the hinges off the door to space with their first flight. Now they have shown they can keep that door wide open for all of us,” stated Tumlinson. “Scaled Composites and the X Prize are proving that access to space can be made routine, which means costs will drop and more and more people will get to go including government astronauts on their way to the Moon and Mars.”
Both the X Prize and Scaled Composites will be receiving Awards from the Foundation at its thirteenth annual conference on RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach California, October 8-10, 2004. Also in attendance will be many alternative space firms and other X Prize team members and leaders.
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