updated 4/13/2005 7:39:13 PM ET 2005-04-13T23:39:13

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is to declare today that October 4-9 will be declared as X Prize Cup Week.

Those are the dates for festivities to be held in Southern New Mexico — a follow-on event to last year’s back-to-back suborbital runs of SpaceShipOne from the Mojave, California spaceport and securing the $10 million Ansari X Prize purse.

At the October X Prize Cup events there will be demonstration flights from at least eight of X Prize Cup team competitors. Also to be previewed will be the Tier-1 X Prize Rocket Racer, according to X Prize Cup spokeswoman, Diane Murphy. In addition, in association with this year’s activities, there will be the staging of the largest-ever student space event in the days following the Balloon Fiesta in the Northern New Mexico/Albuquerque area.

Next year, the X Prize Cup will establish regular races, resulting in the presenting of the X Prize Cup for Rocket Racing.

Entertaining events
Other events announced for the “Countdown to the X Prize Cup” include:

  • Static hardware displays of the X Prize team vehicles, flight simulations and opportunities to visit with astronauts, spacecraft designers, and X Prize team leaders and pilots
  • Demonstration flights of reusable space vehicles by future X Prize Cup contenders at the Las Cruces International Airport
  • Education Day at the Alamogordo Space History Museum for New Mexico's next generation of engineers, pilots, astronauts, and space entrepreneurs with more than 2,000 students participating
  • During the event, Zero Gravity Corporation's G-Force One will conduct weightless flights

Spaceport preparation
Last year, the state allocated $9 million to develop the infrastructure, launch and landing facilities necessary to host and market the competition and related events throughout the state, and to prepare the Southwest Regional Spaceport in Upham, near Las Cruces, to become the country’s first licensed inland spaceport.

This year, the legislature created the New Mexico Spaceport Authority to build and operate the Southwest Regional Spaceport. Governor Richardson has committed $1 million dollars in capital outlay funds to support this growth in spaceport infrastructure.

White Sands Missile Range will be the interim spaceport until the Southwest Regional Spaceport is opened in 2007 or 2008. They plan on hosting the 2006 Inaugural X Prize Cup pending proper licensing of the competition vehicles.

Governor Richardson noted that this year’s Countdown to X Prize Cup is a key step in creating an event that opens the space frontier to all private citizens. It also will bring new companies, provide new jobs, increase tourism statewide, and help brand New Mexico as the place to be to experience the future, he added.

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