Blasting off with an X PRIZE book

Friday, September 12, 2008 at 9:26 AM

Hello, my name is Mike Fabio, and I've been working on the Google Lunar X PRIZE. As you may know, the Google Lunar X PRIZE is a $30 million competition sponsored by Google to send a vehicle to the Moon, travel a distance 500 meters there, and send high definition video, images and data back to Earth.

On September 13, 2007, the Google Lunar X PRIZE was launched at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, CA, which makes today our birthday! But wait, hold up, hasn't the X PRIZE been around for a while? Yes, in fact it has, and it can all be traced back to a book—one that's available on Book Search.

In 1994, Peter Diamandis received a copy of The Spirit of St. Louis, the autobiography of famed pilot Charles Lindbergh. Dr. Diamandis realized that he could realize a lifelong dream of his—traveling into space—through the creation of a prize similar to the one awarded to Lindbergh for flying over the Atlantic. Soon after, Diamandis established the X PRIZE Foundation.

In early 1996, the St. Louis community, in a return to its early roots as a center of the aerospace industry, committed to provide funding to become the first headquarters of the X PRIZE Foundation. On May 18th, 1996, under St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, the creation of the first X PRIZE competition was announced. The X PRIZE Foundation was proud to have the participation of Erik and Morgan Lindbergh, Charles Lindbergh's grandchildren. Erik Lindbergh remains a member of the X PRIZE Foundation Board of Trustees.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the book that launched it all, in which Lindbergh makes a proposal to take up the standing challenge of transatlantic flight:
"Mr. Thompson," I start out, "I've come to ask your advice about a project I'm considering."

He smiles and nods encouragement.

"You've heard about the Orteig prize of $25,000 for a nonstop flight between New York and Paris," I continue. "I think a modern plane can make that flight. I'd like to try it. It would show people what airplanes can do. It would advance aviation, and it would advertise St. Louis."

I go on to explain that I want to get a group of businessmen behind me to finance the project and give me the prestige I'll need in dealing with aircraft manufacturers.

Help us celebrate the birth and birthday of the Google Lunar X PRIZE by giving this fascinating book a read.


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