The RRL is a racing competition akin to Nascar, with cars replaced by rocket-powered aircrafts called X-Racers that will zip around a virtual track in the sky at speeds of more than 300 miles per hour (the image is an artist’s rendering). Five miles around, the three-dimensional track would exist only on the pilot’s head-mounted displays (which are called Augmented Reality System) and on the spectators’ GPS devices. The pilots would race several laps
before landing for refueling (pit-stop) and then taking off again. The
competition may be made more difficult by obstacles such as inflatable
pylons or balloons – or lights and lasers during nighttime races.
The first official RRL race will take place in 2007, at a date and location that will be disclosed next week during the XPrize Cup,
a large space fair and exposition held in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where
the League is headquartered. "We expect up to 8 pilots to participate,
all flying at first the same model of X-Racer", says Mike D’Angelo, the
VP of Technology for the RRL.
In Las Cruces the Mark-1 X-Racer will be on display – that’s the
development prototype of the rocket craft. Besides the competition and
the fun (and the business – revenue is projected
at US$150 million a year by 2010), Diamandis and co-founder Granger
Whitelaw expect the RRL to act as an accelerator of technology
developments in the areas of propulsion and spacecraft design.
(Cross-posted on LunchOverIP)