SpaceShipOne, a stubby rocket plane, is slated to put a human in space for the first time without any government involvement.
The Washington Post reported Saturday the aircraft is scheduled to take off June 21 from a small airport in Mojave, Calif., and fire 62 miles straight up into suborbital space at three times the speed of sound.
"We fly to space directly over the crowd instead of going way down range, and it lands back in the same place like a small, light plane at a private airport," said engineer Burt Rutan, who built SpaceShipOne.
Rutan leads one of 27 teams from seven countries competing for the $10 million X Prize, which will be awarded to the first private entrepreneur who can put three people into suborbital space and then repeat the feat with the same equipment within two weeks.
The X Prize, modeled after the $25,000 Orteig Prize that Charles Lindbergh won for crossing the Atlantic nonstop in 1927, is designed to prove the private sector can fly into space for a fraction of the cost of NASA flights.
The X Prize is also designed to promote space tourism that would allow people to see the curvature of the Earth, see the darkness of space and experienced weightlessness.
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Mowing Back The Antenna Overgrowth
Washington (SPX) May 24, 2004
A Navy ship entering port can be a majestic sight. But the dramatic image is often marred by the many odd-looking antennas poking out in all directions--upwards of 150 of them on the newest destroyers. The real problem, however, is that each antenna requires a costly support system, and the antennas can interfere with one another. So in August, the Office of Naval Research will test a concept that aims to bring down the number of antennas used for receiving and transmitting radio-frequency (RF) signals.
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