The V-Prize Vision

"V" is for Virginia. And Virginia is for space. Tune in to the Virginia Report, hosted by member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Ken Plum (36th District), for the videocast, Challenge to the Commercial Space Community, (approx. 28 minutes) featuring Washington, D.C. space and tech lawyer Jim Dunstan of Garvey Schubert Barer, along with Virginia "Teacher in Space" Megan Seals discussing newspace and the V-Prize. modeled after the Orteig Prize won by Charles Lindbergh and the Ansari X Prize won by Burt Rutan, this time the challenge is point-to-point suborbital spaceflight: "to create a vehicle capable of launching from Virginia and land in Europe in approximately a hour."

Jim and Megan confirm the V-Prize rules will be released by late 2008. Jim notes that the long lead time item will be negotiations with foreign governments. "You can't announce the prize until you announce the destination." And Jim specifies the rules will be written as flexibly as possible "to let the genius that's out there flourish."

Jim noted that unlike the X-Prize, for which the entrants were all start-ups, V-Prize has received interest not just from start-ups but established aerospace companies who are thinking in an entrepreneurial fashion.

Customers of the technology are expected to include, for example, FedEx and the US military.

What puts the state of Virginia ahead of the commercial space curve? For one thing, they've got Wallops Island. And Jim notes, of course, Virginia's groundbreaking
Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act calling it part of the equation for turning Virgina into "a gateway for a spacefaring nation."

Lots more to come from the space Commonwealth. Stay tuned for V-Prize updates and other developments via Virginia space lawyer Jack Kennedy's Spaceports blog; and for a bit more background, see The V-Prize: one hour to Europe The Space Review, Aug. 27, 2007.

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