Headlines > News > Space.com: Canadian Ansari X Prize Entrant Takes the Plunge in Test

Space.com: Canadian Ansari X Prize Entrant Takes the Plunge in Test

Published by Cathleen Manville on Sat Aug 14, 2004 7:24 pm
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chabot imageA Canadian team of rocketeers has moved one step closer to launching its own manned spacecraft with the successful parachute drop test of a crew capsule today.

The backers of Canadian Arrow, a rocket entry in the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition, watched happily as their crew compartment drifted down into Lake Ontario.

“Today totally prove our Canadian Arrow design,” said Geoff Sheerin, leader of the London, Ontario-based Arrow’s bid for the X Prize. “It went really well and everything worked as it should.”

Sheerin’s group is one of more than two dozen teams competing for the X Prize, an international competition to build and fly a reusable three-person spacecraft twice in two weeks. Competing spacecraft must to reach an altitude of at least 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth to qualify for the $10 million purse and X Prize trophy.

Sheerin said his group is now about $2 million in funding away from putting Canadian Arrow on the launch pad. The group has spent about $5 million from sponsors and volunteers – including man-hours – to develop their vehicle, he added.

“We’re still looking for a title sponsor,” Sheerin said.

A nice drop

A helicopter dropped the crew capsule, equipped with instruments and cameras, from an altitude of about 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) about two miles (3 kilometers) offshore in Lake Ontario at about 9:00 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT).

Shortly afterward, the crew compartment let loose its 64-foot (9.1-meter) parachute and slowed its descent. It took between six and seven minutes to reach the water.

“The parachute came out fine and there was no swaying,” Sheerin told SPACE.com after the drop test.

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