What is the Ansari X PRIZE?
What is the Ansari X PRIZE and what is its connection to the Google Lunar X PRIZE? The prize was the first X PRIZE competition where a $10 million prize was awarded to the first non-government team to launch a manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. The prize was awarded in October 2004 to a team led by Scaled Composites.(1) Scaled Composites, LCC is an aerospace and specialty composites development company in Mojave, California, founded in 1982 by Burt Rutan.(2) Rutan designed SpaceShipOne which was the world’s first privately built manned spacecraft to reach space. This was the spacecraft that won the X PRIZE in 2004 by carrying three people to 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, twice within two weeks.(1) The development of SpaceShipOne was financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.(3)
The Ansari X PRIZE was modeled after the Orteig Prize in 1927, which was won by Charles Lindbergh for being the first person to fly transatlantic non-stop from New York to Paris. Dr. Peter Diamonds came up for the concept of the prize after reading The Spirit of St. Louis which is about the winning of the Orteig Prize. The title sponsor of the first X PRIZE was the Ansari family. There were 26 teams from seven different nations that competed for the prize. Those teams together spent more than $100 million to win the prize. Since the prize was awarded, there have been more than $1.5 billion dollars in public and private expenditures in support of the private spaceflight industry.(1)
Since the first X PRIZE was such a great success, the X PRIZE Foundation decided to create more prizes to encourage new innovations in other industries that are stalled. The foundation has a continuing goal of creating a dozen new prizes over the next seven years worth a combined total of $300 million.(1)
Sara Price, Dynetics