Benson Intends to Be First-to-Market for Commercial Suborbital Flights
Having earned a reputation as a successful technology innovator and entrepreneur for more than two decades, Jim Benson today announced that he has stepped down as chairman and chief technology officer of the company he founded nearly a decade ago, SpaceDev (OTC Bulletin Board: SPDV), in order to launch an ambitious new venture focused on commercial space tourism, Benson Space Company (BSC).
"I am dedicated to opening space for all of humanity and, with SpaceDev well-managed and growing, I plan to spend the next several years creating the possibility that anyone who wants to go to space will be able to, safely and affordably," said Benson. SpaceDev owns many of the patents and intellectual property rights associated with hybrid rocket motors used for safe human spaceflight. Under Benson's guidance, SpaceDev developed critical hybrid rocket motor technology and furnished all of the rocket motors for Paul Allen's SpaceShipOne, the craft that earned the $10 million Ansari X Prize in 2004.
Benson Space Co. (www.bensonspace.com) has completed its first round of financing and submitted a request for proposal to SpaceDev for the design and development of its SpaceDev Dream Chaser(TM) spaceships. BSC expects to be one of SpaceDev's largest customers, purchasing multiple spaceships and safe hybrid rocket motors for use in personal spaceflight.
"My biggest challenges over the next few months will be evaluating SpaceDev's response to our proposal request, negotiating the contract for the development of our first spaceships, and completing second-round financing for this new venture," explains Benson. With the expectation that personal spaceflight will grow into a multibillion dollar industry, Benson intends for BSC to be first-to-market with a spaceship designed for suborbital, and eventually orbital, flights. He predicts it will also be used to transport people and cargo to the International Space Station and to a variety of emerging private sector orbital destinations.
"I am very proud of what has been accomplished at SpaceDev," said Benson. "The SpaceDev team has grown to over 200 employees in three states. SpaceDev designed and built a satellite for NASA, its rocket motor technology propelled civilians to suborbital space, and SpaceDev has provided mechanisms to over 200 space missions. The company continues to secure exciting new contracts for the design and development of high-performance, lower-cost, advanced space technologies. I have total faith in the management team and engineers at SpaceDev and am looking forward to working with SpaceDev's CEO, Mark Sirangelo, to bring the SpaceDev Dream Chaser to market. The 'Second Space Age' is here, and a new race to space is on!"
Benson will remain a member of SpaceDev's board of directors. He and his family continue to own the largest amount of SpaceDev stock, approximately one-third of the issued and outstanding shares.
Benson invented modern text indexing and searching in 1984, founded and ran Compusearch for eleven years, and sold the company in 1995. Benson founded SpaceDev in 1997. He is a founding director of the Personal Spaceflight Federation, a trade association representing the emerging new personal spaceflight industry. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in geology from the University of Missouri in 1971 and was honored as Alumnus of the Year in 2005.
Benson Space Company is incorporated in the state of Nevada.