X Prize Contender’s Rocket Explodes

Space Transport Corp., a competitor for the $10 million Ansari X Prize, suffered a major setback on Sunday when their rocket – Rubicon 1 – exploded shortly after takeoff from a launch pad in Northwest Washington State. The 7-metre (23-foot) long spacecraft was supposed to go as high as 6.4 km (4 miles) and reach a speed of 1,800 kph (1,100 mph). One of the rocket’s two engines exploded on the launch pad, but the second still carried it into the air, where it tore itself apart. Rubicon 1 has been developed on a shoestring budget – it only cost $20,000 – and another should be ready to go in the next month or so.