The X Prize Foundation isn’t done: [X Prize Foundation chief Peter Diamandis] wants to keep up the momentum, especially among the 25 other teams that competed for the Ansari X Prize. He has raised $10 million from the state of New Mexico, which will serve as the host state for the X Prize Cup. Diamandis says at least six additional competitions will be held over the next couple of years, including battles for the highest altitude and most passengers carried. “One student suggested we do one for the coolest-looking plane,” Diamandis said, “and we may.” And now: A Las Vegas hotel magnate who is hoping to build the world’s first commercial space stations has offered $50 million (28 million pounds) to the creators of the first privately funded spaceship to reach orbit. Robert Bigelow, who owns Budget Suites of America, launched his challenge a day after the first privately funded spaceship rocketed out of the atmosphere and won the $10 million Ansari X Prize designed to spur commercial space flight. Those hotel magnates sure love aviation. Hotel magnate Raymond Orteig dangled $25,000, which was collected by Charles Lindbergh in 1927 after he flew across the Atlantic alone, without stopping.
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.