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X計畫帶你上太空
此刻,各家私人火箭已經進入倒數階段,就等你揭開機密的X大獎,實現太空旅行的計畫。
2007-11-08 /  2889  0
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X大獎緣起

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The X-Prize Concept

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1
商業航空產業今日的規模高達數十億美元,然而奠定產業基礎的卻不是政府資金或是各項緊密協調的研發計畫,反而是奠基於當時知名機構與人士提供的一系列獎金,而競逐這些獎金的則是一群門外漢、獨立發明家和業餘飛行愛好者。舉例來說:
.獎金1萬法朗,徵求能夠持續飛行15分鐘的人。
.獎金1萬英鎊,徵求第一位能不著陸飛越大西洋的人。
.獎金1萬美元,徵求第一位能夠從紐約飛至紐約州首府阿爾巴尼市的人,航程約134哩。
.獎金2萬5,000美元,徵求第一位能夠從紐約不著陸直飛巴黎的人,這筆獎金在1927年5月由查爾斯.林白駕駛「聖路易精神號」贏得。

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1
The foundations of what is today the multi-billion-dollar commercial aviation industry were never laid by govern-ment funding or by a tightly coordinated research and development program. Instead, a group of tinkerers, garage inventors and part-timers responded to a series of cash prizes which were offered by some of the premier institu-tions and individuals of that era. Some of these prizes were:
.10,000 French francs for whoever could accomplish fifteen minutes of sustained flight.
.$10,000 for the first nonstop transatlantic flight.
.$10,000 for the first flight between New York and Albany, a dis-tance of 134 miles by air.
.$25,000 for the first nonstop flight between New York and Paris—won by Charles Lindbergh flying The Spirit of St. Louis in May, 1927.

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2
創業家彼得.戴曼迪斯在讀了林白的自傳之後才明白,原來林白之所以挑戰不著陸從紐約直飛巴黎,最主要只是為了贏得獎金,而不是想成為首度完成壯舉的英雄。戴曼迪斯在讀林白自傳時想到,既然提供獎金促成了商業航空產業的建立,或許也可以採用相同模式,推出一般人負擔得起的太空旅遊。戴曼迪斯推斷,要挑戰一般人對於太空探險的認知,這是個非常理想的方法,原本大家總認為太空探險太過昂貴,非得要有政府資源的挹注才有機會實現。

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2
When entrepreneur Peter Diamandis read Charles Lindbergh's biography, he realized that Lindbergh's main motivation in making the nonstop flight between New York and Paris had simply been to win the prize on offer rather than to be a heroic trailblazer. As Diamandis read that, he thought that since offering prizes had stimulated the establishment of the commercial aviation industry, perhaps the same thing could happen to bring affordable space travel to the masses. Diamandis reasoned this would be the ideal way to challenge the perception space exploration was so expensive it required the resources of government funding to be achieved.

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3
因此戴曼迪斯開始推動這項構想,也就是後來的「X大獎」。他認為這項目標為促成首次商業太空飛行的大獎,獎金規模必須足以引人注目,而獲獎的成果也必須是目前技術能夠做到的。在經過一段時間與各方討論之後,戴曼迪斯將第一次X大獎的金額定為1,000萬美金,只要有人能夠達成次軌道飛行就可以獲獎,也就是讓太空船進入太空,然後安全返回地球,不必真正繞行地球一周。美國太空總署早期的水星計畫,就是以次軌道飛行為目標,而戴曼迪斯認為,這對於私人太空產業而言,會是理想的第一步。

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3
Diamandis therefore got the ball rolling on what would later become known as“The X-Prize.”He decided the prize on offer for the first commercial space flight had to be large enough to attract attention but at the same time it had to be for something which was within reach technically. After discussing this for a while with all kinds of different people, Diamandis decided the first X-Prize should be $10 million offered to whoever could achieve a suborbital flight—putting a space capsule into space and bringing it back again safely without actually completing an orbit of the earth. This had been the goal of NASA's early Mercury program and Diamandis thought it would be an ideal first step for a private space industry.

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4
在這樣的想法之下,戴曼迪斯擬出了獎金1,000萬美元的X大獎參賽規則。要贏得X大獎,必須達成下列要求:
.在全無政府的補助之下,建造一艘載人太空船。
.用這艘太空船將3個人送上海拔100公里的高空,並順利返回地球。
.在2星期內,以同一艘太空船再次做到第2項步驟。

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4
With this in mind, the rules for the $10 million X-Prize were drafted. To win the X-prize, you had to:
.Build a manned spacecraft without any government funding.
.Launch three people in the spacecraft to an altitude of 100 kilome-ters and return to the Earth.
.Repeat step 2 with the same spacecraft within two weeks.

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關鍵思惟


「要進入100公里高空,獲勝的太空船速度勢必要達到3馬赫,也就是3倍音速。雖然這跟進入地球軌道比起來,只需用1/25的能源,但速度仍然比現今任何私人航空器還要快。即便太空船能以傳統的噴射引擎或氣球爬升到低海拔的高度,最後要進入太空仍然要靠火箭引擎。太空船必須要有維生系統來維持駕駛員與乘客的生命,讓他們能夠回到大氣層,還要有輔助推進器引導太空船順利重回大氣層。太空船必須堅固耐用,能夠禁得起3馬赫高速產生的高熱與衝擊,而且還要能夠以良好的狀態著陸,才能在2星期內再度航行。整艘太空船以及引擎與油槽都必須要能重複使用。」──貝爾費歐 感謝您對大師輕鬆讀的愛護,並且全力支持您合理地使用我們為您精心編製的內容。希望未來可以提供您更方便更友善的服務。

Key Thoughts


“To reach 100 kilometers, the winning ship would have to travel Mach 3—three times the speed of sound. Even though that required only 1/25 the amount of energy needed to reach orbit, it was still faster than any private aircraft ever built. Although the craft could climb through lower altitudes by conventional means—jet engines or a balloon—it would need a rocket engine to make the final run to space. It would need a life support system to keep the pilot and passengers alive long enough to reenter the atmosphere, and some kind of maneuvering thrusters to orient it correctly for reentry. It would have to be sturdy enough to survive the heat and buffeting created by Mach 3, and it had to land in good enough shape to make the trip again within two weeks. The entire spacecraft and all of its engines and tanks had to be reusable." — Michael Belfiore 感謝您對大師輕鬆讀的愛護,並且全力支持您合理地使用我們為您精心編製的內容。希望未來可以提供您更方便更友善的服務。

5
另外仍有一些小細節必須處理,例如大獎的1,000萬美元獎金該從何而來等,不過戴曼迪斯立刻著手進行,他首先獲得了合夥人拜倫.李契騰柏格的協助,創設「X大獎基金會」,另外接洽林白的孫子艾瑞克.林白,邀請他受聘為X大獎的發言人兼理事。X大獎基金會設立於聖路易科學中心,於1996年5月18日舉行成立大會。在成立大會上與戴曼迪斯同台的除了艾瑞克之外,還包括阿波羅11號中進行月球漫步的巴茲.奧德林,以及太空總署署長丹.高登,高登並盛讚X大獎是一場「崇高的冒險事業」。 感謝您對大師輕鬆讀的愛護,並且全力支持您合理地使用我們為您精心編製的內容。希望未來可以提供您更方便更友善的服務。
5
There were a few minor details still to be worked out—such as where the $10 million required for the prize was going to come from—but Diamandis got to work. He enlisted the help of a partner Byron Lichtenberg and established the X-Prize Foundation. Diamandis also approached Erik Lindbergh, the grandson of Charles Lindbergh, and invited him to sign on as an X-Prize spokesman and trustee. The XPrize Foundation established offices in the St. Louis Science Center and on May 18, 1996 held a formal launch event. Diamandis was joined on the stage for the launch not only by Eric Lindbergh but also by Apollo 11 moon walker Buzz Aldrin and by NASA chief Dan Goldin who described the X-Prize as a“noble venture”. 感謝您對大師輕鬆讀的愛護,並且全力支持您合理地使用我們為您精心編製的內容。希望未來可以提供您更方便更友善的服務。



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