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Thu, Mar 04, 2010

Rocket Racing League Announces X-Racer Development Milestones

Two X-Racers Flown In One Day

Rocket Racing League (RRL) said Wednesday it has reached a major milestones in the development of the Rocket Racer, or X-Racer, the rocket-powered aircraft being developed to compete in the Rocket Racing League. Test flights were conducted at the North Texas Regional Airport (NTRA), marking the first time in history where two private-sector manned rocket-powered vehicles were flown sequentially in the same day by one crew with common ground support equipment in the same airspace.

"We are very pleased with these new achievements and solid improvements in the deployment and operation of our X-Racer vehicles," said Peter Diamandis, Chairman and Founder, Rocket Racing League. "This is new technology, newly-developed engines, and newly configured aircraft being flown for the first time in different flight configurations."

The new X-Racers are the Mark-II X-Racer (N205MB) and Mark-III X-Racer (N133XP). Mark-III is the latest generation vehicle, modified during the manufacturing stage to serve as a rocket racer, with canopy top, center seat, and center stick, among other enhancements.

In a world first, RRL flew two X-Racers in one day. The test flights were flown by X-Racer test pilots Len Fox, RRL Chief Pilot, and Dave Morss, the League's newest test pilot. One ground crew and one rocket service vehicle supported the test flights. The milestone is important for the development of a two-vehicle head-to-head style race format, which in its most streamlined embodiment, will feature two Rocket Racers racing in parallel.

RRL is developing multiple vehicles and engines for the Racing League. Currently, the company is conducting test flights utilizing a highly modified Velocity XL FG  airframe and a single Armadillo Aerospace  2,500 pound thrust liquid oxygen (LOX) and ethanol rocket engine. The X-Racer engine in flight emits a 10-15 foot-long flame and roar heard and felt for miles around. Unlike a jet engine that burns oxygen from the atmosphere as its oxidizer, the X-Racer carries its own oxidizer in the form of liquid oxygen. In January, Armadillo turned over operations of their new engine to RRL and RRL staff fielded the engine without manufacture's support.

Spectators at events will view the flights and Raceway-In-The-Sky in real-time on large projection screens fed by a ground-based Augmented Reality System. The Rocket Racer pilots view the RRL-developed Raceway-In-The-Sky with a custom Cockpit Based Augmented Reality System projected onto a 3D helmet display.

On April 24, 2010, the city of Tulsa and the Tulsa Air & Space Museum will host the first annual QuikTrip Air & Rocket Racing Show, which will feature exhibition flights by the Rocket Racing League (RRL). The event will take place at the Tulsa Air & Space Museum at the Tulsa International Airport on April 24, 2010.

FMI: www.rocketracingleague.com

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