Contact: Diane Murphy
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Twenty-four  Teams from Six Countries now Registered in Private 'Race to Space'

St. Louis, MO (January 27, 2003) – Four new teams, the first Israeli team and three new American teams, have registered with the X PRIZE Foundation to compete for the $10M "X PRIZE." This brings the total number of X PRIZE entrants to 24 teams from seven countries: Argentina, Canada, Israel, Romania, Russia, UK, United States.

To win the X PRIZE, teams must privately finance, build and fly a three-person spacecraft 100 km (62 miles) to the edge of space, return safely, and then demonstrate the reusability of their vehicle by flying it again within two-weeks. A winner of the X PRIZE is expected within the next 12-24 months. The goal of the X PRIZE is to make space travel frequent and affordable for the general public.

The X PRIZE competition, the first-ever space-based incentive competition, follows in the footsteps of more than 100 aviation incentive prizes offered in the early 20th Century, that created today's $300 billion-dollar commercial air transport industry.  The most significant of these prizes was the Orteig Prize, won by Charles Lindbergh for his 1927 flight from New York to Paris.

"Today, there are fewer than 20 commercial launches into space each year and none are manned. The public tourism market can drive the launch industry by providing the demand for thousands of launches for adventurers who desire to fulfill their dreams. Such a high market demand offers the opportunity to change the paradigm of space travel and create a truly commercial industry," said Founder and Chairman Dr. Peter Diamandis.


“We hope the X PRIZE will do for space travel what the Personal Computer did for the computer industry in the 1980's.  Instead of having to spend $20M to go to orbit, we believe the first private sub-orbital tickets to space will cost less than $100,000/person.  Flights aboard X PRIZE-class ships could eventually drop to below $30,000 per ticket.”

Each of the 24 X PRIZE teams has approached private spaceflight with a different solution. Entrants include a “traditional” six-story high rocket-powered vertical takeoff ship, to a rocket-powered ‘glider’ that ignites its engines after being towed to 40,000 feet by a Boeing 747.  One team’s spaceship will take off from the water, and another’s will use a reusable balloon as its first stage.  

New X PRIZE Team Profiles

American Astronautics Corporation





Ship Name: The Spirit of Liberty
Team Leader: Bill Sprague
Nation: USA – Oceanside, California
Launch: Vertical launch from coastal regions; Landing: Parachute descent into water

The American Astronautics Corp. was created by a group of seasoned space professionals, specifically Robert Truax and Bill Sprague.  Truax is known as one of the founders of modern rocketry and the designer of Evel Knievel's Rocket vehicle.  Truax and Sprague are experienced designers and builders of simple, pressure fed, reusable space launch vehicles which follow the Minimum-Cost-To-Flight philosophy. The Spirit of Liberty is the logical next step leading from the X-3 (also known as the Sea Horse or the Volksrocket), designed by Robert Truax in the mid-1960s to take a single person to an altitude of 100 km, to the currently in-work commercial space tourism vehicle designed by Sprague, capable of carrying 30 passengers. The Spirit of Liberty will weigh about 10,000 pounds and have an engine producing some 20,000 pounds of thrust. The rocket is 3 feet in diameter and 42 feet long. 

IL Aerospace Technologies (ILAT) 








 Ship Name: Negev 5
Team Leader: Dov Chartarifsky
Nation: Israel – Zichon Ya’akov
Launch: Air Launch from Balloon; Landing: Parachute

IL Aerospace Technologies (ILAT) is the X PRIZE's first Israeli team.  ILAT was founded with the principle objective of developing a reusable and cost effective technology aimed at transforming space tourism into a reality and expanding the human desire for space exploration.  At present, the ILAT team is comprised of five original team members with a combined disciplinary experience in physics, mechanics, aeronautics and material science.  All team members are veterans of the Israeli Armed Forces and have worked for leading aerospace companies in Israel and abroad.  The ILAT team will continue to expand by welcoming additional professionals as well as sponsors, students and volunteers from all walks of life that share the same team vision.  

Interorbital Systems (IOS)










Ship Name: Solaris X 

Team Leader: Roderick and Randa Milliron
Nation: USA – Mojave, California
Launch: Vertical; Landing: Horizontal

Interorbital Systems (IOS), is the first X PRIZE Team run by a women, and featuring a female pilot.  IOS was founded in 1996, as a privately funded aerospace corporation based in Mojave, California. The company develops, manufactures, and tests liquid rocket engines, space launch vehicles, and spacecraft. In addition, IOS provides end-to-end space launch services for its own vehicles. IOS is presently engaged in the development of its Neptune-Solaris Orbital Spaceliner, a two-stage manned orbital launch vehicle. The orbiter stage in this configuration, the Solaris X rocket plane, is the company’s X PRIZE entry. Solaris X will become the flagship of IOS’ future suborbital space tourism operations. The Interorbital Systems team possesses a broad cross-industry experience base, ranging from the academic disciplines of design, simulation, and analysis, to the hands-on skills of rocket prototyping, construction, and launch.

Micro-Space, Inc.



Ship Name: Crusader X
Team Leader: Richard Speck
Nation: USA – Denver, Colorado
Launch: Rocket Powered Vertical Takeoff; Landing: Parachute Recovery

Motivated individuals will find a ride in the Crusader X, the X PRIZE entry of Micro-Space, comparable to extreme adventure travel or research diving. The most critical flight step will be donning, sealing and testing the Personal Life Support unit with backup parachute, communications, and GPS gear. The Crusader X uses a lightweight core frame with seats and windshield resembling a bobsled or undersea sled. Propulsion modules are strapped onto the sides which are retained for the entire flight. Life support equipment is worn by the crew. The core holds the attitude control jets, tiny flight controller, and parachute packages.

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Electronic images of the four new teams and all of the X PRIZE entries are available on the X PRIZE website ( or by contacting Ian Murphy at 202-662-1280 or via email:   Video B-ROLL is available in beta format upon request. Interviews with Dr. Diamandis or the teams are possible by contacting Ian Murphy at 202-662-1280. 
   This document is also attached.