31 October 2001
Announcements - Tourism (Good)
Ticket to Ride
Bristol man wins a place on commercial sub-orbital spaceflight
PRESS RELEASE - October 11 2001

Mr Andrew Hobson, aged 37, from Pucklechurch, Bristol has won a place on the first commercial sub-orbital spaceflight by Bristol Spaceplanes Ltd. A member of the Ascender Project supporters' club (a Bristol Spaceplanes venture) Mr Hobson won the chance to join the 60-mile high club as part of a free draw to reward members for their support.

The Ascender Project is spearheading the race to win the X Prize, a $10M prize fund awarded to the first non-governmental organisation to take passengers into sub-orbit on a regular basis*.

Within the next few years, Ascender hopes to be carrying a crew of two plus two passengers to space. Ascender will be able to take off from an ordinary airfield using turbofan engines. It will then climb to a height of 5 miles where the rocket engine is ignited. Ascender then pulls into a steep climb to a maximum height of 60 miles above the earth's surface. Passengers will be able to see the curvature of earth, an area the size of England and experience several minutes of weightlessness.

The general public have another chance to win a place on the first spaceflight by joining the Ascender Project supporters club. The next draw will be held in October 2002. All membership fees support the design and build of Ascender, the most likely winner of the X prize!

Notes to Editors:
  • The X Prize will be awarded to the first company to launch a re-usable passenger carrying space vehicle twice within 14 days.
  1. Bristol Spaceplanes Limited (BSP), based in Almondsbury was founded in 1991
  2. David Ashford, BSP's MD, worked on spaceplane development as an engineer in the 1960s with Hawker Siddeley Aviation before working on the development of Concorde and the Skylark Sounding Rocket.
  3. The spaceflight prize will be subject to the successful conclusion of the Ascender Spaceplane as well as medical and physical restrictions
  4. Membership of the Ascender Project supporters' club is 25 (15 for students) through www.bristolspaceplanes.com
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31 October 2001
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