Prizes, Hawking, and other news that’s not so new

You may have heard the news earlier this week that the grand prize for Vanishing Point, an online “puzzle challenge”, is a suborbital spaceflight provided by Rocketplane Kistler. (Microsoft, which is co-sponsoring the competition as a way to promote its new Vista operating system, cleverly calls the grand prize “a trip to see the ultimate vista”. As opposed, of course, to Windows Vista Ultimate.)

This competition (announced this week at the gigantic CES trade show in Las Vegas) provides some good publicity for Rocketplane. However, though, this is not the first time a suborbital spaceflight has been offered as a top prize of a competition. Oracle teamed with Space Adventures for the Oracle Space Sweepstakes, targeting software developers, a constituency with a disproportionate share of space enthusiasts compared to the general population. Two people, one in the US and one in South Korea, won reservations on an unspecified future suborbital spaceflight through Space Adventures. And, back in 2000, Dole, the fruit company, had an “Outer Space Trip Sweepstakes”, with a grand prize being a suborbital spaceflight provided by Zegrahm Space Voyages (since acquired by Space Adventures) and Vela Technology. The grand prize winner, an elderly person from the Midwest, reportedly elected (wisely, no doubt) to take the alternate prize of $50,000.

There was also a hubbub this week when the British newspaper The Telegraph reported that Stephen Hawking plans to fly on a Virgin Galactic suborbital flight. This has been a pretty persistent story, which I last noted here a little over a month ago. (Unlike some other celebrities that have been reported to be Virgin Galactic customers, Hawking does appear to be really interested in going.) MSNBC digs a little deeper into reports that Hawking will first take a zero-g flight some time this year, suggesting that opportunity could come as soon as April, when Hawking is scheduled to visit the US.

2 comments to Prizes, Hawking, and other news that’s not so new

  • I think there’s a “this is not” missing from the post.

  • […] Microsoft and AMD, the sponsors of the “Vanishing Point” contest conducted online last month, announced Monday the winner of the grand prize, William Temple of Sacramento. Temple will get a suborbital spaceflight provided by Rocketplane Kistler; the date of his flight wasn’t announced although RpK is planning to begin commercial flights of the XP vehicle around 2009. For those wondering about taxes, which tripped up one other prize winner, Temple is also getting $50,000. […]

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>