The Space Economy starts on June 21st

December 17th, 1903 was one of the most significant dates of the twentieth century. It was, of course, the day the Wright Brothers flew their airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The event made the otherwise obscure Kitty Hawk become one of the best known places in the country.

Just a few days from now, on the 21st, the virtually unknown spaceport at Mojave, California may achieve the same status as Kitty Hawk. On that day, Bert Rutan's SpaceShipOne will take off, carry two people into suborbital space, and return for a landing on the same spot, the same day. Two weeks later, Rutan will have to duplicate the feat to win the $10 million X Prize.

Why might this become as significant as the Wright Brother's first flight? Because this will be the first flight by a private company into space, without the support (and high costs) of government-sponsored programs. Teams from all over the globe have been building spaceships for the X Prize, but it's likely that a U.S. team will once again be first, and the U.S. will lead the global Space Economy into the future.

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