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 living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype and is forthcoming from The Laurel Review. A piece of flash fiction is forthcoming from Cold Creek Review. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published online at Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files.” Richard is also Downlink Lead for HiRISE at the University of Arizona. View all posts by Richard Leis