'Premier Competition of 21st Century' Unveiled
sports took a step into the future today with the launch of the
Rocket Racing League™ (RRL). Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, founder
of the X PRIZE, which inaugurated the age of personal spaceflight,
introduced the RRL as an aerospace entertainment organization that
combines the competition of racing with the excitement of
"The Rocket Racing League will inspire people of all ages to
once again look up into the sky to find inspiration and
excitement," said Dr. Diamandis, Chairman and Co-founder of the
Rocket Racing League. "New aerospace technologies coupled with the
spirit of competition will not only extend the boundaries of
entertainment, but continue the public's appetite for space ignited
a year ago when the Ansari X PRIZE was awarded."
Dr. Diamandis (shown below, left, with Buzz Aldrin) was joined
by Granger Whitelaw, Co-Founder and President of the RRL. "The
success of the Rocket Racing League is limited only by the
excitement the public," noted Mr. Whitelaw. "Given the millions of
fans who enjoy race car driving, and the wider audience enthralled
with humanity's next step into space, we are confident Rocket
Racing will become a mainstream event in the decade to come."
Similar to auto racing organizations, the RRL will organize,
host and run competitions across the United States, with the finals
taking place each year at the X PRIZE Cup in New Mexico. The league
also plans to produce nationwide tours of its rocket planes and
pilots to answer the public's demand for high-excitement
entertainment. A video game based on the RRL is slated to launch in
"The FAA salutes the Rocket Racing League on its mission to
usher in a new era in aerospace entertainment, said Patricia Smith,
Associate Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. "We
look forward to working with the RRL to secure all the necessary
licenses and permits to ensure safe and exciting events for the
Rocket races will operate much like auto races, with the
exception that the "track" is up in the sky. Courses are expected
to be approximately two miles long, one mile wide, and about 5,000
feet high, running perpendicularly to spectators. The rocket
planes, called X-Racers, will take off from a runway both in a
staggered fashion and side-by side and fly a course based on the
design of a Grand Prix competition, with long straight-aways,
vertical ascents, and deep banks. Each pilot will follow his or her
own virtual "tunnel" or "track" of space through which to fly,
safely separated from their competitors by a few hundred feet.
Highly skilled X-Racer
pilots will employ state-of-the-art differential GPS technology to
ensure minimal chances of physical contact between the racers.
Upon take-off, onlookers will easily follow the race as the
rocket planes remain in view and sport 20-foot rocket plumes. Fans
can also track their favorite pilots' progress via large screen
televisions and hand-held GPS tracking devices using WiFi to stream
video of the cockpit, live "on-track" shots, "side by side" views
and wing angle views.
Fans at home will be treated to a three-dimensional course where
the "tracks" pilots are following can be seen. Special effects for
lap completions, barrier violations and penalties will also be a
part of the show.
The RRL plans to host a variety of races as it grows and each
race will result in points awarded to its top finishers and
qualifier. Timed qualifying rounds can be incorporated into the
races, comparable to the 24-hour Le Mans race.
The RRL has contracted with XCOR Aerospace of Mojave California
to design and build the first generation of X-Racers. Next
generation vehicles will be using an airframe provided by Velocity
Aircraft of Sebastian, Florida.
Colonel Rick Searfoss (ret.), former commander of the space
shuttle Columbia, and three-time astronaut, was appointed Chief
Pilot by the RRL and will fly the EZ-Rocket, a precursor to the
X-Racer™ (shown below) in its inaugural launch on
October 9 at the X PRIZE Cup in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Four
pilots, familiar names all, will comprise the founding team
selected to man the Rocket Racing League's initial efforts: Colonel
Searfoss, Sean Tucker, Erik Lindbergh and ANN's own Jim
The RRL will generate revenues through six channels:
1. Sponsorships - The RRL's core demographic will be led by
families, teenagers and young adults similar to mainstream car
racing audiences. Companies will be able to sponsor the X-Racer
aircrafts, pilot uniforms and helmets, and endorse awards such as
fastest lap, fastest pit stop, and overall series champion.
2. Ticket sales - Though the price of tickets will vary based on
the type of race held and the venue in which it is performed, the
RRL will ensure the prices are comparable to other mainstream
3. Broadcast rights - The RRL is initiating talks with major
broadcasters to sell the rights to air Rocket Racing League™
4. Merchandising - League-braded items such as hats, t-shirts,
posters, key chains, and model X-Racer planes will be available at
RRL events, sold online through RocketRacingLeague.com or through
5. Tours - Rocket racing fans will be able to see an X-Racer
up-close, meet RRL pilots and enjoy educational initiatives which
focus on aviation and aeronautics.
6. Gaming - A RRL-based video game will be launched in 2007 and
is expected to operate on popular platforms such as the X-Box, Game
Cube, PlayStation and PC. The game will enable fans to race their
own X-Racers and compete against friends online.
The league has also filed for extensive patents in the area of
Rocket Racing to aid its growth initiatives.
A Request for Proposal program will be initiated in coming weeks
to enable cities and states around the U.S. to bid on hosting
Rocket Racing League events.
The Rocket Racing League's management team is drawn from leaders
in the aerospace, racing, business and entertainment sectors.
Staff experts include former astronauts and pilots, aeronautics and
astronautics engineers, movie producers and race industry
Michael D'Angelo serves as head of business development,
leveraging 20 years' experience in roles including executive,
entrepreneur, aerospace engineer, and venture capitalist. He
is joined by Harry Kloor, a former National Science Policy Advisor
and Hollywood Producer-Writer, as the League's Chief Scientist and
executive vice president of media productions. The Rocket
Racing League's Chief Pilot is Colonel Rick Searfoss, former Space
Shuttle Commander and three-time astronaut.
- Jim Campbell - Editor-in-Chief, Aero-News Network, -
- Bill Gaubatz - Program Manager of the DC-X Program -
- Bob Jenkins - Former Announcer, ESPN, CORR, IRL -
- Kent Liffick - Executive Vice President, Corporate
Development, Indianapolis Motor Speedway & Vision Racing
- Bryan Lilley - President, B. Lilley, Inc. - Touring
- Michael Houghton - President/CEO, Reno Air Races -
- Sean Tucker - Aerobatic pilot - Piloting and Aviation
- Stuart Witt - General Manager, Mojave Airport - Airport
The Rocket Racing League is an aerospace entertainment
organization which combines the competition of racing with the
excitement of rocketry. The RRL is dedicated to providing safe and
thrilling experiences for families through live events, television
broadcasts and interactive technologies. Co-founded by Dr. Peter H.
Diamandis, founder of the X PRIZE, and Mr. Granger Whitelaw,
two-time Indianapolis 500 champion team partner, the league's
mission is to serve as a technology accelerator in the areas of
airframe, propulsion and spacecraft design, and reach for the
future to inspire the next generation of spaceflight