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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Flying Formula One

If, like me, you were vaguely annoyed that Livingstone acquired the Olympics, then you must hope that you are either away during the hell that will be the summer of 2012 (my holidays are accumulating now!), or you must campaign for new sports to appear in the Olympiad. The more violent, the faster, the more dangerous, the better. And free drugtaking, of course. Why not allow genetic modification for athletes. “It’s at their own risk”.

One candidate is the decidedly cool Rocket Racing League. This flying Formula One has not acquired lift as yet, but races are looked for in a year’s time. The origins of this competition lie in the Ansari X Prize, with a nod to their barnstorming ancestors back in the early days of aircraft.

A debut exhibition race is planned for the X Prize Cup in September 2006. In the six months after that, the league expects to see races at an additional two air shows and two car racing events, with a championship event in New Mexico at the 2007 edition of the X Prize Cup.

The events will take a leaf from motor racing’s book.

Rocket planes called X-Racers will compete on a sky ‘track’ in the design of a Grand Prix race, with long straights and the added dimenson of vertical ascents and deep banks. The race will run perpendicular to spectators and be about two miles long, one mile wide and 1,500m in the air. The X-Racers will be staggered upon take-off and fly their own ‘tunnel’ of space, each separated by a hundred metres or so.

Pilots will be guided by differential GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to help them avoid collisions.

Necessity may be the mother but thrillseeking is the father of invention: on second thoughts, the Olympics would ruin it. But I would still welcome a ‘skytrack’ in London, and you can submit your own idea for a rocker racer name on the website

4 comments to The Flying Formula One

  • Dale Amon

    It is also cool that the people building the racers are amongst our readers… GO XCOR!

  • Dale Amon

    And perhaps one of our XCOR friends can give us details on the first X-Racer down payment…

  • Johnathan Pearce

    The whole X-Prize phenomenon is in fact a great example of how daring projects can be fuelled by private competitions and not by the largesse of the taxpayer.

    The Rocket Racing League is a very cool outfit indeed.

    I’d also recommend folks going to Reno in mid-September to watch the air-races. These guys fly jazzed up WW2 aircraft like the P-51 Mustang and makes for incredible viewing.

  • Sorry, Dale, we never ever ever disclose financial information in public. but we’re doing well out of the deal, a win/win/win for RRI, XCOR, and Velocity alike.

    We’re working on several contracts at the moment, and they are going smoothly, but again, I can’t give details. I personally am focusing on our Air Force SBIR contract at the moment, and we did some engine runs on the 50 lb thrust LOX/methane engine just yesterday. Since I’m the console operator, I get to watch from just a few feet away- it’s a rough job…