Washington State-Based Ansari X Prize Contestant’s Spacecraft Explodes

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This undated image provided by Virgin Galactic shows Virgin Galactic's first SpaceShipTwo, an air-launched suborbital spaceplane type designed for space tourism. It is manufactured by The Spaceship Company, a California-based company owned by Virgin Galactic. Space tourism companies are employing designs including winged vehicles, vertical rockets with capsules and high-altitude balloons. While developers envision ultimately taking people to orbiting habitats, the moon or beyond, the immediate future involves short flights into or near the lowest reaches of space without going into orbit. (Virgin Galactic via AP)

A team taking a low-budget stab at the $10 million Ansari X Prize for private manned spaceflight suffered a setback Sunday, when their rocket malfunctioned and exploded after shooting less than 1,000 feet in the air.
No one was hurt in the test of the Rubicon 1 just south of Olympic National Park. The 23-foot-long, 38-inch-diameter spacecraft held three dummies simulating the weight of astronauts.
Click “Full Story” to see a video of the launch attempt…

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