Online Game Could Boost You into Space

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- Your ticket to suborbital space may not attack your bank account big time. Rather, you can cash in on your online gaming talent.

A series of online skill game tournaments is being launched this autumn, with trips to the edge of space offered as prizes.

Rocketplane Limited, Inc. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma has established an alliance with SpaceShot, Inc. of Austin, Texas, announcing the partnership today here at the Countdown to the X Prize Cup.

"It's a way that anybody can compete for a ticket to space on an Internet game," said Chuck Lauer, Vice President of Business Development for Rocketplane. "For a few dollars anybody will be able to get a chance to wing into space. We want to bring personal spaceflight to everybody and make this not just a rich person's pursuit anymore," he said.

Lauer said that his firm's suborbital Rocketplane XP is slated for rollout in fall 2006.

Sales channel

What type of game is envisioned?

The game will be an online non-dexterity skill game. The price will be less than $5.00, said Sam Dinkin, Chief Executive Officer of SpaceShot, Inc.

"Not too many people have $200,000 that they can spend to get their astronaut wings. It is high time that we open up the hope to fly in space to everyone who can afford an entry. A game is the best way to do that," Dinkin told via email.

Gaming will allow hobbyists to put their money where their mouth is, Dinkin said, and support spaceflight companies directly.

"By making the prospect of spaceflight tangible and immediate, there will be more public interest. This should help more ventures -- suborbital, orbital and beyond -- get funded. It may also double the demand versus just the well-heeled," Dinkin said.

In a press statement announcing the new alliance, Rocketplane president George French, highlighted the potential of the gaming concept.

"SpaceShot's skill games will be a huge sales channel for us. Even if they award all of our booked flights as prizes, we can build additional rocketplanes to meet demand."

Updates regarding the skill game tournaments are available at:

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Leonard David
Space Insider Columnist

Leonard David is an award-winning space journalist who has been reporting on space activities for more than 50 years. Currently writing as's Space Insider Columnist among his other projects, Leonard has authored numerous books on space exploration, Mars missions and more, with his latest being "Moon Rush: The New Space Race" published in 2019 by National Geographic. He also wrote "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet" released in 2016 by National Geographic. Leonard  has served as a correspondent for SpaceNews, Scientific American and Aerospace America for the AIAA. He was received many awards, including the first Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History in 2015 at the AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium. You can find out Leonard's latest project at his website and on Twitter.