New Partnership, Venue and Program Expansion Expected to Draw an 8-Fold Increase in Competing Teams and Crowds to This Year's Wirefly X PRIZE Cup in Southern New Mexico
LAS CRUCES, N.M. Today, the X PRIZE Foundation and Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB) announced a partnership intended to create the world's largest "Air & Space Flight Demonstration." This year's expanded Wirefly X PRIZE Cup activities are expected to result in an 8-fold increase in competing teams and crowds. The flights and ground events will be held in Las Cruces, N.M. and HAFB in Alamagordo from October 24 – 28th, 2007.
Last year, the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup attracted one actual vehicle competing for the $2M Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge (NG-LLC) and an estimated crowd of 15,000. This year's expanded plans are expected to attract up to 8 viable competing spaceships for the NG-LLC, and crowds exceeding 100,000, including a group of more than 10,000 schoolchildren.
"This partnership reinforces the upward trajectory of this world-class event by combining the best advanced air show (F-16, F-22 and F-117) by Holloman AFB with the leading edge of space exploration rocketry and hardware," said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation. "The dramatic increase in Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge competitors ensures a fierce competition for the $2 million purse in what is essentially a 'battle of the entrepreneurs.'"
The event is free and attendees will experience as many as a dozen Lunar Lander rocket flights and a state-of-the-art air show with Air Force single ship demos including F-16, F-22, F-117 and ground displays. The venue expansion maximizes the use of existing launch pads, staging areas, facilities, transportation, parking and other amenities while featuring more performances, presentations and displays than ever before.
"This joint venture between the Air Force, the X PRIZE Foundation and the State of New Mexico offers a unique opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of manned space flight and the 60th anniversary of our Air Force at the nation's first ever 'live fly' Air and Space Expo," said Brigadier General David L. Goldfein. "Most exciting is the opportunity to bring thousands of children from across the state to have a hands-on experience talking with astronauts, scientists, pilots, engineers, and Airmen recently returned from combat action in Afghanistan and Iraq. I hope everyone in our Southwest neighborhood can make it to Holloman AFB for this spectacular event!"
City leadership and supporters in Las Cruces have been an integral part of the 2007 planning efforts as the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup moves from Las Cruces Airport, the site of the 2005 and 2006 events. The X PRIZE Foundation also consulted with other community leaders to assure the expansion supports the construction and completion of Spaceport America in N.M.
"The Wirefly X PRIZE Cup will proudly showcase Southern New Mexico's role in the history of personal spaceflight for a third straight year," said Rick Homans, New Mexico State Secretary of Economic Development and key partner in expanding this year's event. "The Cup remains the only annual event where the entire family can see the next generation of private spaceships in action, and that's an important distinction for the State, Las Cruces and Dona Ana County as the host community."
This year's activities represent the growth of the aerospace industry in New Mexico on the heels of the passage of the Spaceport Tax in Dona Ana County. The tax, expected to generate around $6.5 million annually for 20 years, will fund the construction of Spaceport America, the world's first commercial spaceport, as well as math and science programs in the county school system.
Wirefly X PRIZE CUP At-A-Glance:
-- Oct. 24 & 25: Int'l Symposium for Personal Spaceflight
Farm & Ranch Museum; Las Cruces, N.M.
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
-- Oct. 26: Education / Media Day (open to schools and media only)
Holloman AFB; Time: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
-- Oct. 27 & 28: Air & Space Show; (free and open to the public)
Holloman AFB Air and Space Show;
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. /
Gates open at 8:00 a.m.
For more information and to sign up for the Symposium, please visit www.xprizecup.com.
ABOUT THE NORTHROP GRUMMAN LUNAR LANDER CHALLENGE
Returning to the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup in 2007 is the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, a two-level, $2 million competition requiring a vehicle to simulate trips between the moon's surface and lunar orbit. Currently nine Lunar Lander Teams are registered for the competition, eight more than competed last year. NASA, which signed a Space Act Agreement with the X PRIZE Foundation before the competition in 2006, will once again fund the prizes through its Centennial Challenges program.
ABOUT THE WIREFLY X PRIZE CUP
The Wirefly X PRIZE Cup is an annual two-day event held in New Mexico. In 2006, the event featured live rocket launches, prize competitions, rocket plane flights, jet pack flights, astronaut talks, an entire space theme park on the ground and much more. This year, it will also feature an Air Show with Air Force single ship demos including F-16, F-22, F-117 and ground displays. For more information, please visit www.xprizecup.com or call (310) 576-3473.
ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION
The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. On October 4, 2004, the X PRIZE Foundation captured world headlines when Mojave Aerospace Ventures, led by legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan and Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private vehicle to space twice in two weeks to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since expanded its mission beyond space exploration to offer new prizes for breakthroughs in the life sciences, energy and the environment, education and global entrepreneurship. In October of 2006, the X PRIZE Foundation announced the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for genomics, which will reward the first private effort to map 100 human genomes in 10 days ushering in a new era of personalized preventative medicine. For more information please visit www.xprize.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONTEST TO WIN A TRIP TO THE WIREFLY X PRIZE CUP
Zannel, the first large-scale viral mobile entertainment network that provides the easiest way to create, experience and share content on any mobile device, and the X PRIZE Foundation are teaming up to "identify humanity's greatest challenges." The X PRIZE Foundation is tapping the Zannel community to understand what people consider to be the largest, most challenging issues facing mankind today. The X PRIZE Foundation has created a channel on Zannel and is running a contest encouraging users to submit their statements in short videos for a chance to win a trip to the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup, October 27-28 in New Mexico (www.zannel.com/xprizecontest).
ABOUT HOLLOMAN AFB
Holloman Air Force Base has been a proud member of the Tularosa Basin community since 1942. It's currently home to the 49th Fighter Wing, which maintains and deploys the F-117 Stealth Fighter and serves as the host wing for more than 30 tenant units. Personnel from Holloman have participated in numerous operations, such as Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and many more.
X PRIZE Foundation
Sarah Evans, 310-582-5903
Marc Schulman, 310-576-3084