Ansari X Prize competitor Scaled Composites plans to launch on June 21, 2004 the first piloted private spaceship into space, something that only governments have accomplished since Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space on April 12, 1961. The public is invited to the launch, scheduled for early morning. While not an attempt for the Ansari X Prize, the launch will help usher in a new era of private enterprise in space. This comes at a time when the Moon-to-Mars Commission appointed by President Bush has recommended increasing federal support and NASA reliance on the private sector to reach his goals.
Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr). View all posts by Richard Leis