At the Space Access ’07 conference earlier this afternoon, Nicole Jordan and Will Pomerantz of X Prize discussed the 2006 X Prize Cup and plans for the 2007 event. The biggest news from their presentation is that, while an official final decision hasn’t been made, it is almost certain that the 2007 event will be held not at Las Cruces International Airport, home of the 2005 and 2006 events, but instead at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, New Mexico, about an hour’s drive northeast of Las Cruces. The base holds an air show every other year, and the X Prize Cup would combine with the 2007 air show, most likely on the last weekend (27-28) of October.
A big focus of the presentation was on this year’s Lunar Lander Challenge event, which is expected to attract more contestants than 2006, when Armadillo Aerospace was the only team that had a vehicle ready to fly. I asked Will how many teams had registered, but he said he was unable to give a number at this time. The event will be able to handle up to five vehicles each for the Level 1 and Level 2 portions of the challenge. In general, he said, the five vehicles that are the first to get experimental permits from the FAA will be the ones allowed to fly, provided that they actually have a completed vehicle associated with that permit. If they get that many vehicles, he said, “Wow, it adds a lot of work, but wow, what a show.” Team registration is open now: the “regular registration” deadline is the end of next week, with a fee of $2,500; a “late registration” period is open through the end of April, but with a $5,000 entrance fee.