A rather ambitious successor to the Ansari X-prize:
Anyone who wants to follow in the shoes of Burt Rutan and win the next big space prize will have to build a spacecraft capable of taking a crew of no fewer than five people to an altitude of 400 kilometers and complete two orbits of the Earth at that altitude. Then they have to repeat that accomplishment within 60 days.
While the first flight must demonstrate only the ability to carry five crew members, the winner will have to take at least five people up on the second flight.
And one more thing. They have to do it by Jan. 10, 2010.
Those are just some of the rules that govern who wins the $50 million “America’s Space Prize,” an effort by Bigelow Aerospace, of North Las Vegas, Nevada, to spur the development of space tourism in low Earth orbit.