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America's Space Prize
Following the success of the Ansari X-Prize in motivating flight of the first commercial suborbital manned spacecraft, Robert Bigelow announced the 'America's Space Prize' - $ 50 million - to the first team to fly an orbital manned spacecraft that completes two missions safely and successfully by January 10, 2010. The prize was not claimed.

The spacecraft had to:

  • Fly on both attempts in an orbit with a perigee sufficient for two full orbits and an apogee over 400 km (implying a perigee of at least 100 km)
  • Carry a total of five crew and passengers. For the first attempt, flight of just test pilots and equivalent mass for passengers was allowed, but a minimum of five persons had to be aboard the second flight.
In addition, the spacecraft had to meet the following requirements:
  • Be able to dock with a Bigelow Aerospace inflatable space station
  • Be capable of remaining docked to that station at least six months
  • No more than twenty percent of the spacecraft mass may be composed of expendable hardware
In addition, the winning team had to:
  • Be American in location and ownership
  • Not use government funding to develop the spacecraft (except use of government test facilities was allowed)
  • Be a private enterprise, without any government ownership

Even prior to Bigelow's announcement, Burt Rutan hinted that an orbital follow-on to his SpaceShipOne was being designed. Although no contestants were announced immediately, the X-Prize contestants listed were American and their designs had the technical potential for upgrade to an orbital spacecraft.



Subtopics

LB-X American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Kelly Space & Technology, San Bernardino, California.

Black Armadillo American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Armadillo Aerospace, Mesquite, Texas. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003.

Mayflower American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital seaplane-spacecraft of Advent Launch Services of Houston, Texas. Reached the stage of engineering tests by 2003.

Eagle X-Prize American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Vanguard Spacecraft of Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Crusader X American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Micro-Space, Inc of Denver, Colorado.

Lucky Seven American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Acceleration Engineering, Bath, Michigan.

Liberator American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of HARC, Huntsville, Alabama.

Michelle-B American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of TGV Rockets, Bethesda, Maryland. As of 2005, flight testing of the Michelle-B was expected to begin no earlier than 2007.

Pioneer XP American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital spaceplane concept of Pioneer Rocketplane, Solvang, California. No backing forthcoming.

Rubicon American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of STC.

Solaris X American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of Interorbital Systems of Mojave, California.

The Space Tourist American manned spaceplane. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital flying saucer concept of Discraft Corporation of Portland, Oregon.

The Spirit of Liberty American manned spacecraft. Study 2004. X-Prize suborbital ballistic spacecraft concept of American Astronautics Corporation, Oceanside, California.

Tier Two American manned spaceplane. Development of the much larger SpaceShipTwo suborbital commercial manned spacecraft was announced in July 2005.



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