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Space Shuttle Commander Richard Searfoss Selected as Chief Judge of The X Prize Competition

Press Release From: X Prize Foundation
Posted: Monday, June 23, 2003

The X PRIZE Foundation selected Colonel Rick Searfoss as the Chief Judge of the X PRIZE Competition adding to the recent flurry of activity in the race for a three person private sector reusable launch vehicle.

"The competition is heating up.  We could see a winner within the next 12 months.  It's time to complete our judging panel.  Rick Searfoss' extensive career in aviation and space, linked with his skills as a professional speaker make him the perfect candidate to be our Chief Judge" explains Dr. Peter Diamandis, Founder and Chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation.

The Chief Judge's initial duty is to complete the development of a pool of world-renowned aviation and space experts to judge the X PRIZE Competition.  The judges will ensure that the $10 Million X PRIZE is awarded to the first team to fly a privately financed reusable three-person spaceship to an altitude of 62 miles-and repeat the trip within two weeks. "Since the day I commanded a space mission, I've felt compelled to share the wonder and vision of human spaceflight.  To date only 431 humans have enjoyed the unbelievably spectacular, sublime adventure of flying in space - far too few!  As Chief Judge of the X PRIZE Competition, I'm deeply honored to witness the efforts of bold, creative, and courageous private teams to reach space, make history, and pave the way for many thousands more." 

Colonel Rick Searfossis an Astronaut and Shuttle Commander.  Throughout his career as an astronaut, test pilot, and fighter pilot, he has logged over 5000 flying hours in 60 different types of aircraft and nearly 1000 hours in space.  In addition to commanding the Neurolab team (STS-90) he piloted two previous space flights, one of which was a joint Russian-American mission to the International Space Station.

Colonel Searfoss was the number one graduate in hisUnited StatesAirForceAcademyandAir Force Squadron OfficerSchoolclasses and earned a graduate degree from the California Institute of Technology, which he attended on a National Science Foundation fellowship.  He was selected for Outstanding Young Men of America and is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons (Topgun) School and Naval Test Pilot School.  His numerous other awards include USAF F-111 Instructor Pilot of the Year, Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, and NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. 

The X PRIZE Competition

The X PRIZE is patterned from the aviation prizes of the early 1900s, and in particular the Orteig Prize won by Charles Lindbergh in 1927. 24 competitors are entered in the X PRIZE competition, a $10 million purse to be awarded to the first person or team to fly a privately-funded suborbital spaceship 100km (62 miles) to the edge of space, return safely, and then fly again within two weeks. The spaceships must be capable of carrying three individuals. Teams from Argentina, Canada, Israel, Romania, Russia, UK, and the United States are entered. A complete listing and profiles of their spaceships can be found at www.xprize.org

About the X PRIZE Foundation (www.xprize.org)

The X PRIZE Foundation is a not-for-profit educational organization, with headquarters inSt. Louis,Missouri. Supported by private donations and the St. Louis Community, the foundation's mission is to provide incentives in the private sector tomake space travel frequent and affordable for the general public.A winner of the X PRIZE Competition is expected within the next 12-18 months.

To find out how you can join the efforts of the X PRIZE, or involved your neighborhood school or community center with X PRIZE educational programs, log onto www.xprize.org or contact the office at 314-533-2002.

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