Three Canadians, Engineer, Ukranian And Young American
Competing For $10 Million
After a worldwide search for
candidates, the Canadian Arrow team, one of 24 groups competing for
the $10 million X-Prize, announced Friday the composition of its
first flight crew. The six will all train with hopes of making the
final cut, as part of the two-man crew the Arrow team hopes to send
The team we've got is an extraordinary group of people," said
Canadian Arrow team leader Geoff Sheerin in an interview with
SPACE.com. "We were actually looking for people who were a lot like
(NASA's) Mercury Seven."
The Canadian Arrow team hopes to win the X-Prize, a
worldwide initiative to get private citizens into space. "This is
fantastic and I'm honored to be with such a select group of
people," Canadian Arrow astronaut David Ballinger told SPACE.com.
"It's a chance in a lifetime." Along with Ballinger, the "Arrow
Six" includes Canadian Forces Capts. Ted Gow, 34, and Terry Wong,
38, both experienced military pilots. 31-year-old Jason Dyer,
originally from London, Ontario, is an aerospace engineer by
training. Finally, there's an American among the "Arrow Six,"
28-year old Larry Clark. He's a commercial pilot who hopes to
become the youngest man ever launched into space.
Youth And Experience
Yaroslav "Yarko" Pustovyi, 32, is the only member of the team
with actual space training. Originally from Kiev the Ukranian
astronaut now works at the National Space Agency of Ukraine (NKUA).
He trained at NASA to backup Leonid Kadenyuk, his country's first
astronaut, on the STS 87 space shuttle mission.
"I think I can bring some of my experience to this project,"
said Pustovyi. "I know what it's like working within a
government-structured space program, and how the public sees space
Pustovyi put his finger on the true purpose of the X-Prize,
which will be awarded to the first team that can fly a reusable
spacecraft to an altitude of 62 miles (100 km) and back. "This is
not just a competition for new technology," he added. "I think it's
about showing people that progress has made a huge step forward and
that space is really close to us these days."
The earnest Canadian
team, led by Geoff Sheerin, faces some pretty tough, well-known
competition in its bid for the X-Prize. Perhaps best known is
aircraft designer extraordinaire Burt Rutan, whose X-Prize entry
(right) is a two-vehicle solution. One carries the other,
which, after reaching altitude, is dropped from the mothership's
belly, fires its engine and streaks into the vacuum of space. Rutan
has kept a tight lid on information about his two-ship venture,
refusing to announce a launch date. Canadian Arrow's Sheerin is
"We will make that decision when we get there," Sheerin said of
when he plans announce a launch date. "I think we're going to wait
until we think we're absolutely ready."