Ansari X PRIZE
"I think the [Ansari] X PRIZE should be viewed as the beginning of one giant leap..."
On October 4, 2004, the X PRIZE Foundation captured the world's attention when we awarded the largest prize in history, the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE, to Scaled Composites for their craft SpaceShipOne.
To win the prize, famed aerospace designer Burt Rutan and financier Paul Allen led the first private team to build and launch a spacecraft capable of carrying three people to 100 kilometers above the earth's surface, twice within two weeks.
Spaceflight was no longer the exclusive realm of government. With that single flight, and the winning of the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE, a new industry was born.
The Ansari X PRIZE was modeled after the Orteig Prize, won by Charles Lindbergh in 1927 for being the first to fly non-stop from New York to Paris, and mirrored the hundreds of aviation incentive prizes offered early in the 20th century that helped create today's $300 billion commercial aviation industry. Dr. Peter Diamandis designed the prize after reading The Spirit of St. Louis about the winning of the Orteig Prize. In 1996, he formally announced the prize in St. Louis, and the race was on.
The Ansari family shared our vision and agreed to join the revolution by becoming the title sponsors of the first X PRIZE, jumpstarting 26 teams from 7 different nations to pursue their passions by competing for the prize. Those 26 teams combined spent more than $100 million to win the prize. Since SpaceShipOne won the prize, there has been more than $1.5 billion dollars in public and private expenditure in support of the private spaceflight industry.
Following the success of the Ansari X PRIZE, Peter Diamandis and the rest of the X PRIZE Foundation were inspired to create more prizes that would spur innovations in other stalled industries. The Foundation has an ongoing goal of creating new Prizes in the following areas: Exploration (Space & Deep Ocean); Energy & Environment; Education & Global Development; and Life Sciences.
The teams that competed for the Ansari X PRIZE were a dynamic and diverse group of individuals and companies, each with their own unique idea of how to win the $10 million. Many of the Ansari teams are still reaching for space, even though the prize money is no longer up for grabs. Others are competing in current X PRIZE competitions, like the Google Lunar X PRIZE or the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.
A list of all of the teams who competed in the Ansari X PRIZE is to the left. All content on team pages is exactly the same as it was on the original X PRIZE Foundation website in 2003, including tense.