From: Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority
Posted: Friday, October 4, 2002
FREDERICK, OKLAHOMA, October 4, 2003. The growing entrepreneurial space industry is working to make it cheaper and easier to get passengers and cargo up to outer space. Oklahoma is rapidly becoming a world leader in this arena thanks to its "Spaceport" initiatives. Last weekend, a new kind of space event came to Oklahoma: the first Global Space League™ event, held in conjunction with Frederick, Oklahoma's Centennial. Said Donna Shirley of the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority, "This event proves that Oklahoma continues to be in the forefront of finding ways to help innovative space entrepreneurs."
The Global Space League series of events, held nationwide in conjunction with larger public events, will showcase entrepreneurs building innovative air and space vehicles. Every Global Space League event will provide access to different kinds of flight opportunities for professional scientific researchers and also for kids' payloads, with the opportunities custom-designed for the vehicles flying in that event and the local terrain. Upcoming events are planned for Hawaii, California, and back to Frederick, with other venues in discussion as well.
The first Global Space League event in Frederick last weekend sponsored three flights and a demonstration on how to explore Mars. All three flights were onboard vehicles developed by HighShips, a startup California developer of balloon-based vehicles for high-altitude, long-duration scientific flights.
The first flight, on a vehicle named the "Spirit of Frederick" in honor of the host city, took off at about 10:15 AM. It was calm enough to launch in the parking lot of Tillman County Courthouse in Frederick, right in the middle of the Centennial festivities. This flight carried paper airplanes made by children from the area, which were released when the vehicle reached its peak altitude. Each plane has a tracking sticker on it so that if it is found kids that made the plane can see how far their particular plane went. Two have been found as of the date of this release (about 80 miles away!) and current status can be seen at www.okspaceplanes.com.
The second flight carried a RocketCam™ camera from Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation and an experimental transmitter provided by Santa Clara University. This transmitter is intended for eventual use on small student-built spacecraft, and this flight provided Santa Clara with its first flight test. A significant crowd gathered to wave at the RocketCam™ as it rose above them, and videos of the scene will be available at www.okspaceplanes.com shortly.
The third and final balloon flight, named the "Leo Farrell" after a forward-looking mayor of Frederick who recently passed away, also carried paper airplanes aloft. This vehicle was loaded a bit more lightly than the first and climbed incredibly rapidly into a still blue sky at 4 PM, closing out the first Global Space League event.
Dr. Donna Shirley of the Oklahoma Space Development Authority gave a talk between flights about how one explores Mars. She brought out her kid-pleasing radio controlled model of therover that drove around Mars in 1997, and drove it around while describing how spacecraft fly to Mars.
But not only students and scientists benefited. Said Jeff Patterson, president of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce, "We had an unbelievable crowd out here for the flight, and our local sponsors are very pleased with the additional exposure and business generated by these flights."
NOTICE TO EDITORS: Still photographs of the events are available at www.okspaceplanes.com. Video clips from the RocketCam™ flight will be released there this weekend. There will be periodic updates during the coming week.
About Takeoff Technologies LLC (www.takeofftech.com): The Executive Producer of Global Space League events, Takeoff creates innovative collaborations between the entertainment industry and the science and technology community. Takeoff's services are centered around the development of unique creative entertainment and educational projects in partnership with real explorers, with a particular focus on the current wide range of aerospace entrepreneurs.
About Frederick, OK (www.frederickok.org): The City of Frederick, in southwestern Oklahoma, is an innovative small community with a long history of aviation operations and an interest in furthering Oklahoma space industry development.
TAKEOFF TECHNOLOGIES LLC
3660 W. Temple Ave. Suite 2320
Pomona, CA 91768
Contact: Joan Horvath, President 626-695-2951
FREDERICK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY
105 South Main
Frederick, Oklahoma 73542
Contact: Jeff Patterson, President 580.335.2126
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