Headlines > News > EKAD signs deal with X-Prize promoters

EKAD signs deal with X-Prize promoters

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Wed Sep 15, 2004 12:01 am
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chabot imageBy Bill Deaver: MOJAVE — East Kern Airport District board members formally approved an agreement Tuesday that will allow history to be made in the skies over East Kern in coming weeks.
The board okayed an agreement between the district and the X-Prize Foundation to hold up to three events at the Mojave Spaceport in coming weeks.
Scaled Composites plans to launch the first of at least two flights into space from the Spaceport on Sep. 29th in an attempt to win the $10 million Ansari X-Prize. A second attempt to fly to at least 100 kilometers and land must be made within 14 days — possibly on Oct. 4th, according to EKAD General Manager Stuart Witt, who said a third launch may be made.
“No one has done anything like this since Lindbergh,” Witt said of the significance of the launch attempts using Scaled’s SpaceShipOne spaceship launched from WhiteKnight, which demonstrated its ability to achieve the 100 km. goal on June 21st.
X-Prize guarantees to cover district costs up to $135,000, with an 80-percent deposit, and will also purchase insurance, Witt said.
“I have instructed our staff to work towards that 80-percent figure,” Witt said.
Profits and non-profits
Witt said the non-profit X-Prize Foundation has hired a for-profit firm, Air Show Networks, and a for-profit public relations firm, to manage the events, which are expected to attract thousands of people to the nation’s first non-federal Spaceport.
Visitors to the second launch are expected to include U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Marion Blakey.
“X-Prize sponsors will have displays” promoting their products during the event, Witt added.
Witt said the only non-negotiable item in the agreement was that the Mojave Rocketboosters will be allowed to sell their exclusive SpaceShipOne merchandise at the events. (See separate story, this issue).
Witt commended X-Prize founder and CEO Peter Diamandis for sticking with his dream of creating a prize to spur civilian space development.
“We need more guys like Peter,” Witt noted.
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