Wed, Nov 14, 2012
Fundraising For First Private Orbital Crew Mission Underway
Space Operations (SpaceOps) has "launched" a fundraising effort on the "RocketHub" website with a 90-day, $98 million goal. RocketHub is a "crowdfunding" website that enables people to raise money through the Internet for various projects.
SpaceOps needs $38M to build the 2-seat ECLIPSE spacecraft, and $60M to purchase a commercial launch services contract. "We ask spaceflight supporters from around the world to come forward and be a part of the first private orbital crew flight," said SpaceOps CEO Craig Russell. "Although SpaceOps is an American company, people who will fly on ECLIPSE orbital missions may be from any country," explained Russell. RocketHub CEO Brian Meece said, "Crowdfunding is a powerful way to find grassroots support for business, science, art and social projects. RocketHub is proud to host the SpaceOps campaign, and excited for the future of spaceflight, which the SpaceOps' ECLIPSE represents."
In less than two years, SpaceOps has completed preliminary engineering work, and put together a team of three highly motivated aerospace companies; WestWind Technologies Inc. (spacecraft construction and integration), Advanced Solutions, Inc. (Guidance, Navigation and Control) and Southern Aerospace Company (Operations). With initial funding of $3M, construction of the ECLIPSE will begin four weeks later. The ECLIPSE is scheduled to be completed 9 to 13 months after full funding ($38M) is in place.
SpaceOps will reward one person with a flight in the co-pilot seat on an orbital mission. The first person who donates at the highest level ($55M) could fly into orbit as early as 2014. "Of course this person would have to meet certain physical requirements, and complete required spaceflight training," said Russell.
RocketHub is not an investment or charity. It is an exchange: fans receive rewards depending on the level of their support. To be a part of this historic effort, go to the RocketHub site and look for "Put the USA Back in Space Today" in the "space" category.
SpaceOps is a crew/cargo orbital mission contracting firm. The company is located in Huntsville, Alabama near NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
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