Last-Minute Delay for X Prize Rival

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<b>Last-Minute Delay for X Prize Rival</b><br /><br />LINK<br /><br />The countdown to the conclusion of the privately funded race for space is producing some last-minute surprises, with a key competitor postponing its bid just days before its scheduled flight.<br /><br />The da Vinci Project, based in Toronto, Canada, has announced it would delay the 2 October launch of its balloon-borne rocket for several weeks. That date had been timed to fall between the two flights of rival Scaled Composites of Mojave, California.<br /><br />Now, if Scaled Composites successfully launches its rocket, SpaceShipOne, as scheduled on 29 September and 4 October, it will win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. The prize will go to the first non-governmental vehicle that can ferry three people to a height of 100 kilometres twice within two weeks.<br /><br />The da Vinci Project's setback was due to problems obtaining some string-like "filament winding" used in the rocket, says a spokeswoman. She says only two Canadian companies make the carbon-fibre winding and would have had to halt their normal production schedules to accommodate the project's needs for a launch on 2 October.<br /><br /><br />Paperwork problems <br /><br /><br />"We have everything we need to fly except the parts," says company spokeswoman Una McAvoy. She dismisses reports that the Canadian government had yet to approve a launch from Kindersley, Saskatchewan, saying the project had filed all the necessary documents and secured insurance for the flight.<br /><br />But a spokesperson at the government agency Transport Canada said on Friday that the launch had in fact not yet been authorised because the agency had not received all the required paperwork.<br /><br />The rocket - which will ignite after being lifted to an altitude of 24 kilometres (80,000 feet) by a giant helium balloon - has never been flown before, so its first flight would be its X Prize atte
 
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