The Ansari X Prize

The Anasari X Prize is a series of prizes given out to people for designing cost effective spacecraft. It inspires regular people to build what only space agencies had built before. In 2004 the prize went to the creators of SpaceShipOne.

An image of a rocket taking off.

The Ansari X Prize gives out a $10,000,000 prize to boost the space tourism industry.


The X Prize Foundation

For over 30 years, the general public has waited to enjoy space on a first-hand basis. How many of you thought that you would have gone to space by now? The X Prize Foundation works to make it possible for everyone to get into space. The ships that compete for the X Prize are always made to carry people. They will help people travel and live out in space.
Founded in May of 1996, the X Prize Foundation has had over 20 teams from seven countries try to get the prize. The X Prize was fully paid for through January 1 of 2005 by private donations. It is also backed by an insurance policy to make sure that on the day someone wins the prize, the $10 million is in place to be paid.
The X Prize Foundation raises extra funds all the time to support the prize. This includes paying for judges, media, event management, and more. These funds help the Foundation to continue its mission.

The Ansari X Prize

civilian space travel

The prize is $10,000,000 used to boost space tourism. Only the best teams of entrepreneurs and rocket experts get the prize. The $10 million cash prize goes to the first team that:
  • Privately finances, builds, and launches a spaceship. It must be able to carry three people to 100 kilometers (62.5 miles)
  • Repeats the launch with the same ship within 2 weeks
This competition follows in the footsteps of many aviation incentive prizes. There are over 100 that occurred between 1905 and 1935. These competitions created today’s multi-billion dollar air transport industry.
The main competition that inspired the Ansari X Prize was one specific flight. The trans-Atlantic flight by Charles Lindbergh in The Spirit of St. Louis. In 1927, Lindbergh won the Orteig prize, for which he gained $25,000.
Lindbergh and his financial supporters, The Spirit of St. Louis Organization, used a better approach to aviation. This approach was smaller and faster. It demonstrated that a small, professional team could outperform a large, government-style team!

The societal benefits of the Ansari X Prize include:

  • The making of a new generation of heroes
  • Inspiring and educating students
  • Focusing public attention and capital investment on this new business frontier
  • Challenging explorers and rocket scientists around the world

The vehicles built during this competition will eventually serve these four different industries:

  • Space Tourism
  • Low-Cost Satellite Launching
  • Same-day Package Delivery
  • Rapid Point-to-Point Passenger Travel
For more information on the Ansari X Prize, watch this video:

Other Great Resources

The X Prize for Kids:

The Ansari Family:

X-Prize Website:


Written by: Lindley Lund