It’s official, SpaceShipOne has won the $10 million Ansari X Prize. They succeeded in making two manned flights to the edge of space within two weeks. This is an amazing accomplishment for a private company.
There are a few more details in the CNN story. The most interesting part to me is the fuel – nitrous oxide and rubber.
A fuel tank about six feet in diameter at the center of the craft holds liquid nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. A hollow tube leading from the tank to the engine nozzle is filled with solid rubber. The combustive combination produces thousands of pounds of thrust…
I’m a little sad that John Carmack’s team, Armadillo Aerospace, didn’t win the prize, but I’m sure they’ll keep working on their ship. I don’t think any of the teams were doing it for the prize money anyway, since most of them have invested over $10 million.
Now that we’ve gotten pretty good and getting from the ground to space, I’m ready for someone to start working on the warp drive. How many years until the Vulcans show up?