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Mon, Apr 14, 2008

Rocket Racing League To Fly First Exhibition Race At AirVenture 2008

Acquires Velocity Aircraft; Armadillo Aerospace To Make LOX Engines

First announced two-and-half years ago, the Rocket Racing League announced Monday morning it is rapidly approaching blast-off. At an event in New York, the RRL announced its first exhibition race will take place on August 1-2 at EAA AirVenture 2008 in Oshkosh, WI.

In addition to announcing the dates of the first exhibition races, the Rocket Racing League also announced the remaining series of exhibition races for the rest of 2008, the acquisition of Velocity Aircraft by Rocket Racing Composites Corp., and that Armadillo Aerospace will manufacture liquid oxygen (LOX) engines for the Rocket Racing League.

On August 1-2, the first Exhibition Race of the Rocket Racing League will be held at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, the largest air show in the world. For the first time ever, two Rocket Racers will compete head-to-head in a demonstration race in the raceway in the sky. Rocket Racer pilots will view the "raceway in the sky" via in-panel and 3D helmet displays and the 700,000 people in attendance at EAA AirVenture will witness the racing action live on multiple large projection screens.

"The first Exhibition Race of the Rocket Racer is an important milestone in the progression of the Rocket Racing League," said Granger Whitelaw, Chief Executive Officer of the Rocket Racing League. "We look forward to sharing the experience and thrill of rocket racing with the public."

"EAA has followed the development of the Rocket Racing League concept with great interest," said EAA President Tom Poberezny. "We are excited about the opportunity to develop a whole new audience of aviation enthusiasts, while at the same time promoting aviation innovation."

Following the first Exhibition Race at EAA AirVenture, the RRL will hold exhibition races at venues around the country, including:

  • Reno National Championship Air Races (Reno, NV) - September 10-14
  • X Prize Cup (Las Cruces, NM) - TBD 2008
  • Aviation Nation, Nellis AFB, (Las Vegas, NV) - November 8-9

In related news, Rocket Racing Composite Corporation, a subsidiary of the RRL, announced the acquisition of Velocity Aircraft of Sebastian, FL, a leading manufacturer of four-seat canard pusher experimental aircraft. Under the terms of the agreement, Velocity Aircraft will become a wholly owned division of Rocket Racing Composite Corp. and will produce an airframe that will be consistent for all competing Rocket Racers.

Through a rigorous research and development, all Velocity-constructed Rocket Racers will be equipped with the safest-possible airframe for any kind of aircraft. The cockpit seats for all Rocket Racers will be reinforced to withstand impacts up to 20G load, and other safety measures will be added using a methodology similar to that of F-1 and Indy Car to better protect pilots and passengers alike.

"Velocity is truly excited to be a part of Rocket Racing," said Scott Baker, president of Velocity. "Many of the technology advances that are planned for the Rocket Racer models transcend and offer performance and comfort benefits to Velocity owners who use their aircraft for personal and business travel."

Rocket Racing also announced Mesquite, TX-based Armadillo Aerospace will be providing LOX engines for the Rocket Racing League. A leading provider of reusable rocket-powered vehicles, Armadillo Aerospace is focused on vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) suborbital research and passenger flights, with an eye towards eventual paths to orbit.

Armadillo Aerospace will offer a second engine option to RRL teams, in addition to the current motor provided by XCOR Aerospace.

"Flying people on our rockets has been our goal from day one, and we are excited to work with the Rocket Racing League to provide a system that will be safe for the pilots, cost effective and robust for the teams, and spectacular for the crowds," said John Carmack, President of Armadillo Aerospace.

FMI: www.rocketracingleague.com

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