Space is a frontier that mankind has sought to concur for many years, but up until now if the average person entertained the idea of venturing into space within their lifetime they would not have been taken seriously by most, if not all, reasonable people. However, within the last few months several events have taken place that may lead that reasonable person to rethink his position on the matter of, privately funded civilian space travel. All this is now possible because a few people who shared a common goal gathered together and decided to further their cause for the benefit of all mankind. "The X PRIZE Foundation was established in 1994 as an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring private, entrepreneurial advancements in space travel", and the sole purpose of its founders was , "to realize the dream of spaceflight for the general public" (Diamandis). What a great place the world would be if men like these were more common.
Just recently, In the Months leading up to the culmination of the X-Prize there were two serious contenders for the fabled X PRIZE, A rocket known by its builders as Wild Fire, and an airplane referred to buy its builders as, Space Ship 1. "The da Vinci Project, led by Brian Feeney of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, registered as a contender for the X PRIZE on June 2, 2000." (About the da Vinci Project). Their Craft Wild Fire has a flight plan that first consists of the rocket being hoisted to 24 km. (80,000 feet) via hot air balloon, at which point the rocket slung under the balloon at an 80 degree angel, from the horizon, fires and hopefully delivers the rocket and crew into space. The manner in which the da Vinci Project went about reentry is somewhat low tech, "A reentry chute is deployed T plus 15 seconds after apogee and includes the base area high temperature cone which doubles as the landing absorption cushion to protect the engines." Unfortunately this team had some funding problems causing them to deviate...
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