X-Prize Director Says Flight Marks New Era in Spaceflight
By Kevin Lavery, KWMU
St. Louis – The director of the St. Louis-based X-Prize Foundation says the flight of the world's first privately-built spacecraft marks a new phase of the space race.
The vehicle known as "Spaceship One" reached an altitude of 62.5 miles Monday over the California desert.
The team is competing for the X-Prize, a $10 million purse given to the first group to take three passengers that same distance and back twice within two weeks.
The foundation's Gregg Maryniak says the flight cost only a fraction of a government spacelaunch.
"A typical NASCAR or Formula One racing team is going to spend $50 million to $100 million just in their first year," Maryniak said. "Well, in the several years that this program is going, the total amount of money spent is probably about $25 million. And the nice thing about this is that it's paving a path for you and I to go into space."
More than 50 people from the St. Louis area have contributed to the X-Prize.