Grade Level: 7-12
* EMPixx Award Winner!
Host Scott Bakula (of Star Trek and Quantum Leap) shows how competition drives innovation - even in space exploration. In the 1960s, the intense rivalry between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. fueled the Space Race, culminating in Neil Armstrong's "giant leap" in 1969. The near future seemed to hold great promise for commercial space flight and space tourism. But in the intervening years, NASA's accomplishments have been underwhelming.
Now, the most exciting innovations are found in the private sector, where the Ansari X-Prize contest inspired enterprising teams to race toward the goal of developing a cost-efficient, reusable space craft. The X-Prize was modeled after a similar prize that helped launch the commercial aviation industry - a $25,000 prize won by American Charles Lindbergh with his famous 33-hour solo flight from New York to Paris in 1927.
Today, the budding private space tourism industry is attracting entrepreneurs, investors, and would-be adventurers who hope to be among the first private space travelers. Thanks to the power of competition, the dream of safe, affordable space flight may be realized in the not-too-distant future.
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