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The Right Stuff is back!
NSS congratulates the SpaceShipOne team on winning the X PRIZE on the anniversary of Sputnik
Mojave, California: The National Space Society hailed the birth of a new era in personal spaceflight as pilot Brian Binnie piloted SpaceShipOne to space and won the X PRIZE for the Scaled Composites / American Mojave Aerospace Ventures team.
"The Right Stuff is back," said George Whitesides, Executive Director of the NSS. "Just as Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, Burt Rutan has broken the space barrier, and proven that spaceflight can be accessible to the rest of us."
The fact that the flight took place on October 4, the anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, the first satellite in orbit, made the occasion even more historic.
"On the anniversary of the start of the first space age, Burt Rutan has kicked off a new space age - and this time, we all get to go."
The flight was remarkable for several reasons. Perhaps the most important aspect was that the flight constituted the shortest turn around time for the same ship to go to space. The five day period between the first X PRIZE flight and the winning flight blew away the previous record held by the X-15.
"The straightforward reuseability of SpaceShipOne is the essential ingredient to a vibrant space tourism industry," said Whitesides. "SpaceShipOne can be turned around in about the time it takes to get your car tuned up."
The successful flight not only makes the Rutan / Allen team $10 million richer, but also perfectly sets up Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic business for a strong start.
"Branson's announcement of his new spaceline meant that the X PRIZE had succeeded even before anyone had won," noted Whitesides. "NSS members anxiously await the day that they can add their names to Sir Richard's waiting list."
About the National Space Society
The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, international, grassroots organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded in 1974, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space. NSS counts thousands of members and over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society also publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space.
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