Saturday, October 4, 2008

October 4th: An important X PRIZE day

As my colleague Will Pomerantz noted on the The Launchpad, October 4th is an important day in the history of the Ansari X PRIZE.

First, it was the day that the first satellite, the Russian Sputnik, was launched into space, back in 1957. This marked the beginning of the space era, and resulted in where we are today, with the success of the Ansari X PRIZE, and more recently, SpaceX’s Falcon 1 making it to orbit.

October 4, 2004 was also the day that the Ansari X PRIZE was won by the Burt Rutan-led team Scaled Composites. This marked the first private spaceflight, and opened up the private spaceflight industry.

And then on October 4, in 2006, the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics was announced. The first non-space X PRIZE, it is to decode 100 human genomes in 10 days for less than $10,000 apiece. The winning of this prize would be the first step on the road to truly personalized medicine. It will allow a database of sequenced genomes to be built for compassion and study, and hopefully give us the ability to predict, and therefore prevent, diseases.

In case you were wondering, a lot of famous people were also born on October 4. Here are some examples.

Rutherford Hayes born on October 4, 1822
Buster Keaton born on October 4, 1895
Charlton Heston born on October 4, 1923
Anne Rice born on October 4, 1941
Susan Sarandon born on October 4, 1946
Alicia Silverstone born on October 4, 1976

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