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St. Louis-Based X-Prize Could be Won Today

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UPI photo of the X-Prize, which is currently located at the St. Louis Science Center.

By AP/KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis-based X-Prize could be won today (Monday). The flight of SpaceShipOne is under way at this hour in California.

SpaceShipOne is trying to be the first privately-made and manned rocket to reach space twice in two weeks.

The St. Louis Science Center has its own mission control running this morning. It's showing live footage of the launch by the team called Scaled Composites.

Aircraft designer Burt Rutan and his team are behind SpaceShipOne. It made the first of two planned flights last Wednesday. Rutan says despite a series of unexpected rolls, the craft is sound.

The Ansari X-Prize is a $10 million reward for the first group to launch a privately-funded craft to an altitude of just over 62 miles twice within 14 days.

The X-Prize is aimed at making space travel affordable. Adam Smith of Vienna, Virginia, says he's already saving up. The 14-year-old says space fascinates him and this could result in daily flights.

Peter Diamandis describes the race for the X-Prize he founded in 1996 as a "space revolution."

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