[space geek mode = on]
Woohooo! Today Space Ship One/White Knight landed its second flight in two weeks to qualify to win the Ansari X-Prize ($10 million).
They’ve got a pretty neat setup, where one plane carries the other off the ground, then the larger one (White Knight) drops the smaller one (SS1) which then rockets off into Low Earth Orbit.
Congratulations, Scaled Composites.
And special thanks to Paul Allen (formerly) of Microsoft! This guy donated about $30 million dollars to Scaled Composites so they could actually make the flight.
Now why is it a big deal that some guys spent $30 million to win 10 million? Well, they’re the first guys who weren’t part of a government agency to do it. That’s a pretty impressive feat. From there it’s not too much of a stretch that they can start working on actual Orbital flights, or even lunar landings – something NASA hasn’t done in decades.
[Space geek mode = off]