Wednesday, the X Prize Foundation put out a release announcing a press conference in Santa Monica next Tuesday, July 27. The subject: “Several announcements” about the $10 million prize competition. You don’t need to be a rocket surgeon or a brain scientist to know that the Number One announcement will be dates for a prize attempt by Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne team (earlier news on the possible timing on Wired News and MSNBC.com).
An official involved in X Prize launch planning — I interviewed him for Wired News, which chose not to do a story yesterday; since we spoke under that understanding, I don’t want to quote him by name — wouldn’t confirm the SpaceShipOne news. But he did says this about the announcement: “They’re just going to announce the dates of one of the applicants’ next flights, their next prospective flights.” The official said his organization, which I would describe as being a key partner in Rutan’s launch preparations, would participate in next week’s announcement.
The X Prize people say that in addition to Rutan, Brian Feeney of Toronto’s da Vinci Project will participate. Feeney likewise wouldn’t comment on the announcement. He did say that his group will be holding a press event up in Toronto on August 4 (it was orginally planned for Wednesday, July 21, but was cancelled partly because of the imminent X Prize press conference, he said. He also said that since the da Vinci Project is an all-volunteer effort, “Sometimes it’s hard to tell people what to do” and pull off something like a press day. But he said the August 4 session will definitely happen.