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Worlds Largest Reusable Helium Balloon Completed by Canadian Manned Space Flight Team
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Worlds Largest Reusable Helium Balloon Completed by Canadian Manned Space Flight Team

TORONTO  December 2, 2004: –The Golden Palace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project announced today that it has completed construction and flight qualification of the “Worlds Largest Reusable Helium Balloon” for its planned manned flights to space. The balloon will carry the projects Wild Fire MK VI manned spacecraft to its launch altitude of 70,000 feet (21,340 meters).

The Balloon was built by the team throughout the late Summer, Fall. “It’s an incredible achievement said Brian Feeney Team Leader of The Golden Palace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project.  It follows years of research and development by the team with input from some of the most talented balloon design and fabrication people on the planet”.

At no time in the program did we think this was something that could not be accomplished. “It was a monumental undertaking. After all the design, engineering and testing we hunkered down and built it said Steven Davies Balloon Production Team Leader”.  “Following months of preparation we turned out the final flight balloon using production equipment built by the project”.

“It’s like everything else in this project said Brian Feeney, we’ve overcome barrier after barrier driving toward our goal of private manned space flight”. We’re definitely moving toward a first flight as early as feasible in 2005”. The projects goal of putting the first Canadian manned spacecraft into space and only the second private team ever is sound. Getting down to it and engineering, testing and building the largest reusable balloon ever is typical of the day to day tasks face by the team. “This team is the most tenacious forward thinking group of volunteers ever assembled.

The 4014 lb balloon made from 4.5 mil thick custom extruded polyethylene sheets, measures 152.7 feet in diameter and 200 feet in length fully inflated. The volume is 3,698,167 cubic feet (104,615 cubic meters) with a near record gross lift capability of 15,270 lbs (6,922 Kgs).

During the summer the project successfully built and flew to 40,000 feet a smaller balloon scaled to simulate all the flight stresses. In the lab test sections of the final balloon were stress tested to 1200 psi, twice the expected maximum stress loads. Balloon section stress tests were carried out over 12 to 24 hour periods, greatly exceeding the actual balloon float time of 2 hours per launch attempt.

“We didn’t stop there says Brian Feeney. As a precursor to building the final balloon, we constructed a second 100,000 cubic foot test balloon. This enabled us to perfect the manufacturing process as well as provide an additional large balloon for field launch testing. We even micrometer tested the thickness of every 400 foot gore, every 12 inches, to be sure the material was within specification”.

Several additional elements are engineered into the balloon design and recovery system to achieve the full reusability needed for multiple flights to space.

About The Golden Palace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project

(www.davinciproject.com)

The Golden Palace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project's was a leading contender for the Ansari X PRIZE, the international "New Race to Space(R)". The Project is backed by a core of volunteers from many walks of life and disciplines. Aerospace engineers, experts in project management and finance contribute their time and expertise towards the realization of the next step in Human discovery. The Project's novel rocket design will be launched from the world's largest reusable helium balloon at an altitude of 70,000 feet (24,400 meters). To learn more, visit www.davinciproject.com.

PIC of the balloon is sent under a separate email: 

For more information, please call: 

Golden Palace / da Vinci Project Media Contacts:

Una McAvoy

416-633-2975,   umcavoy@davinciproject.com

 

The GoldenPalace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project continues to make headway!
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Worlds Largest Reusable Helium Balloon Completed by Canadian Manned Space Flight Team

Toronto November 25, 2004 - The GoldenPalace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project continues to make headway!

After sending congratulatory messages to Burt Rutan’s X-Prize winning team, the Golden Palace.com da Vinci crew got right back to work, continuing to make progress on the Wild Fire Mk VI engine and flight components.  “We were happy to see Burt’s successful flights. He almost made it look easy,” said Brian Feeney, project leader for the development team.  “But that’s just the beginning of the game.  We are continuing our effort to successfully launch our spacecraft under the auspices of the X PRIZE Foundation.  And, we continue to wish all the best of luck to the other competitors who have remained in the New Race to Space as well.”

Brian explained the engine development program is proceeding well with additional firing  tests to ensure proper ignition and stability of thrust.  We have a location in southern Ontario appropriately named “Test Hill” by the locals. Air Liquide provided us with a 25 ton capacity Nitrous Oxide storage tank for multiple full duration test firings. The engine “tiger team” composed of internal resources and outside industry experts is making great strides.  Brian, and the entire engine team, are very optimistic about their engines.  Test results, pictures and videos will be made available following the completion of the engine qualification  test program.

Other spacecraft components are in a final phase of completion and integration. Subsystem testing has been ongoing throughout the program.  Ancillary equipment, such as the transport and launch cradle, and the recovery tools are ready for deployment. Communication and avionics are being optimized during this final phase of the project prior to flight. Overall, the excitement is building.

Organization aspects of ground operations have been addressed by Dav1d Grossman, Team Leader, GroundOps.  Dav1d went to Kindersley and Saskatoon to meet with emergency services personnel (Police, Fire, Ambulance), as well as other local da Vinci Volunteers who will be providing ground support equipment, crew members, and facilities for Mission Control.  These meetings were very successful.  The people of Kindersley are very eager to see their town become Canada’s Spaceport.

As well, Brian has been speaking at a number of prestigious events, including the SpaceVision2004 Conference at M.I.T.  (see photo).  At this conference, Brian presented a brief historical narrative of the evolution of the project, and the vision for the future.

Other speaking engagements included the closing keynote address at Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference in Victoria BC, the St. Louis Science Center – X PRIZE event, keynote at the Conference Board of Canada 2004 Technical Conference and a hometown favorite, the University of Toronto, Astronomy Society.  Upcoming presentation by Brian will include the closing keynote address at the Canadian Student Summit on Space 2005.

There have also been a number of local speaking engagements in Toronto by other da Vinci team members.  Of particular note is the seminar series designed for the Public School Grade 6 “Aviation and Flight” Unit.  This seminar includes technical details appropriate to the class curriculum, as well as some fun questions and answers, and a “hands-on” portion with some materials taken from the fabrication shop floor.  (For more information on scheduling a seminar for your school, contact Dav1d Grossman at dav1d@davinciproject.com)

Canadian Government Approves Launch
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Canadian Ansari X PRIZE Team Receives Government Approval to launch into Space

TORONTO October 1, 2004: –The Golden Palace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project announced today that it has received full authorization approval from the Canadian government to launch its manned flights to space.

“It’s a major milestone in the project”, says Brian Feeney, Team Leader and pilot of the teams Wild Fire MKVI spacecraft. “I’m incredibly proud of the entire team who contributed to this very large task. It demonstrates the team’s depth of experience and drive to achieve our goal of putting a man into space through a privately funded program.”

The Golden Palace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project is a leading contender for the Ansari X PRIZE and is only the 2nd team in the competition to receive government approval.

“This is a major step toward our upcoming flights. Our team and Canada is on the forefront of putting the 2nd private manned spacecraft in the world into space”, said Brian Feeney.

The manned launch approval is for planned flights to space that will be conducted from Kindersley, Saskatchewan.

About The Golden Palace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project

(www.davinciproject.com)

The Golden Palace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project's aim of capturing the Ansari X PRIZE, the international "New Race to Space(R)" is backed by a core of volunteers from many walks of life and disciplines. Aerospace engineers, experts in project management and finance contribute their time and expertise towards the realization of the next step in Human discovery. The Project's novel rocket design will be launched from the world's largest reusable helium balloon at an altitude of 80,000 feet (24,400 meters). To learn more, visit www.davinciproject.com.

About the ANSARI X PRIZE Competition

In order to win the ANSARI X PRIZE, teams must build a safe/reusable space vehicle able to carry one pilot and the weight equivalent of two passengers 100km (62 miles) into sub-orbital space. The vehicle must be privately financed and safely launched twice within a two-week period. The first registered ANSARI X PRIZE team to complete this feat will win the $10 million prize and spectacular trophy.

About the X PRIZE Foundation (www.xprize.org)
The X PRIZE Foundation is a not-for-profit educational organization, with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. The Foundation’s ANSARI X PRIZE Competition is supported by its Title Sponsor the Ansari family and its Presenting Sponsor Champ Car World Series.  The Foundation is also supported by private donations from the St. Louis Community through the New Spirit of St. Louis Organization.  The Foundation's mission is to educate the public about space travel, create educational programming for students and space enthusiasts, and provide incentives in the private sector to make space travel frequent and affordable for the general public. Several additional sponsorships for the ANSARI X PRIZE competition remain available to corporations or individuals who wish to support the contest and associate themselves with courage, determination, achievement, space, speed, high performance and technology.

For more information, please call:

da Vinci Project Media Contacts:

Una McAvoy

416-633-2975,   umcavoy@davinciproject.com

 

Temporary Hold on planned Launch to Space
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Toronto September 23, 2004: –The Golden Palace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project announced that it has revised its October 2nd planned flight to space in pursuit of the Ansari X PRIZE.

Contributing factors to this revision were availability of a few key components and their integration into the overall space flight program. The Project will provide public notice of its intended flights as soon as practicable under the auspices of the Ansari X PRIZE, notwithstanding the flight plans of any other competitor.

“The flight insurance for the 2 launches has been secured”, says Brian Feeney, Project Leader. “We’re still a go for launch. We’ve made milestone progress since the early August arrival of our title sponsor, Golden Palace.com and we intend to prove that Canadians can and will put a man into space”. 

About The Golden Palace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project (www.davinciproject.com)

The Golden Palace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project's aim of capturing the Ansari X PRIZE, the international "New Race to Space(R)" is backed by a core of volunteers from many walks of life and disciplines. Aerospace engineers, experts in project management and finance contribute their time and expertise towards the realization of the next step in Human discovery. The Project's novel rocket design will be launched from the world's largest reusable helium balloon at an altitude of 80,000 feet (24,400 meters). To learn more, visit www.davinciproject.com.

About the ANSARI X PRIZE Competition

In order to win the ANSARI X PRIZE, teams must build a safe/reusable space vehicle able to carry one pilot and the weight equivalent of two passengers 100km (62 miles) into sub-orbital space. The vehicle must be privately financed and safely launched twice within a two-week period. The first registered ANSARI X PRIZE team to complete this feat will win the $10 million prize and spectacular trophy.

About the X PRIZE Foundation (www.xprize.org)
The X PRIZE Foundation is a not-for-profit educational organization, with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. The Foundation’s ANSARI X PRIZE Competition is supported by its Title Sponsor the Ansari family and its Presenting Sponsor Champ Car World Series.  The Foundation is also supported by private donations from the St. Louis Community through the New Spirit of St. Louis Organization.  The Foundation's mission is to educate the public about space travel, create educational programming for students and space enthusiasts, and provide incentives in the private sector to make space travel frequent and affordable for the general public. Several additional sponsorships for the ANSARI X PRIZE competition remain available to corporations or individuals who wish to support the contest and associate themselves with courage, determination, achievement, space, speed, high performance and technology. 

For more information, please call:

da Vinci Project Media Contacts:

Una McAvoy

416-633-2975,   umcavoy@davinciproject.com

 

GoldenPalace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project Conducts successful balloon, payload test flight.
da Vinci Project logoSept 12th, 2004 - The GoldenPalace.com Space Program powered by the da Vinci Project conducted a successful test balloon launch to 40,000 ft in Colorado on September 12. The scaled balloon with payload rose to its peak designed altitude to test the stresses on the balloon, both at launch point and float altitude. Convective temperatures are at their lowest at around 40,000 ft.

The flight was a total success said Brian Feeney, team Leader of The Golden Palace.com SPACE Program Powered by the da Vinci Project. The balloon was filled with an excess of lift helium to provide additional ground launch stress to the balloon envelope.

The FAA approved balloon flight used a 0.75 mil thick balloon envelope as compared to the space flight balloon envelope which is greater than 4.0 mils thick.

Termination of the flight occurred on schedule with parachute recovery of the balloon, payload system. The balloon test launch was part of a series of final tests in preparation for the teams October 2, 2004 Ansari X Prize competition first manned flight to space

 

Golden Palace Online makes da Vinci Project ready to play for Ansari X PRIZE!
da Vinci Project logoToronto, Aug 5th, 2004 - The Canadian da Vinci Project Team has notified the ANSARI X PRIZE of its intention to launch its rocket on October 2nd, 2004, marking its official entry in the international, commercially-funded space race competition.

The da Vinci Project, which unveiled its rocket Wild Fire today, joins one American team -- in a field of 26 -- to announce its launch date. "With two ANSARI X PRIZE teams launching within days of each other for the $10 million prize (U.S.), we truly have a remarkable race for space," said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and Founder of the X PRIZE Foundation. The recipient of the $10 million prize will be the first team to travel safely to space twice within a two-week period on a privately funded, re-useable spacecraft.

Brian Feeney, who plans to pilot Wild Fire approximately 110 kilometers into suborbital space, said the team is finalizing construction of the rocket as well as logistical details related to the event, which will be held in Kindersley, Saskatchewan.

"We're very close to achieving our mission, thanks to the organizations and individuals that understand the significance of this race," said Feeney. "The da Vinci Project is on the cusp of a new era of space travel for humankind. Our team is proof positive that ingenuity and innovation can overcome the impossible."

In addition, Feeney announced a new sponsor to finance the project. Golden Palace.Com, the world's largest online casino, has signed on as the title sponsor. The Golden Palace.Com Space Program -- Powered By The da Vinci Project -- is poised to make history.

According to sources at the casino, GoldenPalace.com is excited and very proud to be a part of the historic flight of the Wild Fire. In the continuing pursuit for innovative ideas for exposure, Golden Palace sources believes the ANSARI X Prize competition provides the advertising exposure as well as the added incentive of a history-making event that will eventually serve to benefit all humankind.

The da Vinci Project, which Feeney describes as the largest volunteer technology project in Canada, has achieved several critical milestones since officially entering the competition in 1996. These milestones have included the filing of necessary papers to Canadian government for launch approval; securing the site for launch; the testing of engine components; testing the design and securing a wide range of sponsors including Sun Microsystems of Canada, Blake Cassels Graydon, ANSYS, Hinz Automation and Kindersley Transport.

"The da Vinci Project is emblematic of the spirit of the ANSARI X PRIZE," said Diamandis. "It brings together many of the best and brightest to break down preconceived notions on space travel and prove that we are no longer bound to one planet."

The X PRIZE Foundation is working with the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), the international body responsible for all aviation and space world records, to ensure that the ANSARI X PRIZE winner will also receive official international recognition for his achievement. In addition to duration, altitude and distance, the FAI has introduced new world record categories for 'minimum time between two consecutive sub-orbital flights in a reusable vehicle' and 'number of persons carried in sub-orbital flight'.

About The da Vinci Project
The da Vinci Project's aim of capturing the ANSARI X PRIZE, the international "New Race to Space®" is backed by a core of volunteers from many walks of life and disciplines. Aerospace engineers, experts in project management and finance contribute their time and expertise towards the realization of the next step in human discovery. The da Vinci Project's novel rocket design will be launched from the world's largest reusable helium balloon at an altitude of 80,000 feet (24,400 meters). To learn more, visit www.davinciproject.com.

About GoldenPalace.com
Founded in 1997, GoldenPalace.com provides high-quality online gaming with over 60 games in three languages. Legally licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, Canada, GoldenPalace.com has served millions of gamers and paid out even more millions of dollars since then, and continues to be one of the major players in the industry. Founder and CEO Richard Rowe, from Guernsey, UK, is focused on keeping his company at the forefront of the industry through innovative advertising strategies. Rowe intends Golden Palace to become the first casino in space.

About the ANSARI X PRIZE Competition
In order to win the ANSARI X PRIZE, teams must build a safe/reusable space vehicle able to carry one pilot and the weight equivalent of two passengers 100km (62 miles) into sub-orbital space. The vehicle must be privately financed and safely launched twice within a two-week period. The first registered ANSARI X PRIZE team to complete this feat will win the $10 million prize and spectacular trophy.

About the X PRIZE Foundation
The X PRIZE Foundation is a not-for-profit educational organization, with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. The Foundation's ANSARI X PRIZE Competition is supported by its Title Sponsor the Ansari family and Presenting Sponsor Champ Car World Series. The Foundation is also supported by private donations from the St. Louis Community through the New Spirit of St. Louis Organization. The Foundation's mission is to educate the public about space travel, create educational programming for students and space enthusiasts, and provide incentives in the private sector to make space travel frequent and affordable for the general public. Several additional sponsorships for the ANSARI X PRIZE competition remain available to corporations or individuals who wish to support the contest and associate themselves with courage, determination, achievement, space, speed, high performance and technology.

 

Location of Canada's First Space Launch
da Vinci Project logoToronto, Oct 28, 2003 - da Vinci Project chooses kindersley as site of first independent Canadian Launch site: www.kindersley.ca

 

Letters from Supporters
da Vinci Project logoToronto, Oct 03, 2003 - I've been following the X-Prize evolution and events as much as I have time for but I had yet to hear of you and your team! I just wanted to thank you for all who dream of opening space to the masses and to tell you how incredible and inventive your design and approach are. Your craft is a beautiful blend of simplicity and complexity that has me thinking that Scaled and Burt Rutan really do have a true contender. Again just wanted to drop you a quick of admiration and thanks, and, to implore you to forge ahead for all of us dreamers who are watching and waiting in hope for you all. Sincerely,
Adam Sant

Note: This and other letters will be moved to another part of the site soon.
 

Autodesk Comes Aboard
Toronto, June 29, 2003 - The da Vinci project welcomes another new significant sponsor, Autodesk, providing its state of the art INVENTOR CAD software tools to the project.
 
Saskatchewan Team
da Vinci Project logoRegina, June 11, 2003 - The da Vinci Project welcomes the Saskatchewan team. Canadians hailing from Saskatchewan have been assets to the team early on in the project. We thank them and look forward to their valuable contributions as we move onward and upward.
 
Launch location announced!
Regina, May 13, 2003 - Today Brian Feeney, Team Leader of the da Vinci Project, announced at a Press conference at the Saskatchewan Science Center in Regina that the project will conduct its first manned space flight in Saskatchewan. Details and timing of the first manned test launch to space will be announced later in 2003. Click here for More.
 
The Mathworks sponsors the da Vinci Project

Toronto, April 25, 2003 - The da Vinci Project welcomes another new sponsor, The Mathworks, who will provide the project with leading edge MATLAB/Simulink R13 tools for flight dynamics analysis and control. Matlab will be used for both pre-flight analysis and for on-board flight controls.
 

Ramius Corporation sponsors da Vinci Project through online community
Ramius logoToronto, April 07, 2003 - The da Vinci Project welcomes another new sponsor, Ramius Corporation, providing Engineering and Project Database Management services to the Project.

Ramius Corporation is an enterprise software company developing online community systems as the basis for improved group collaboration and knowledge management. Ramius CommunityZero® facilitates information sharing processes that offer greater control, reach, consistency, accuracy, and ease-of-use. Using CommunityZero, enterprises enhance competitiveness, communications, and customer service, while simultaneously reducing costs and streamlining content management.
 

Waterloo Maple announces sponsorship of da Vinci Project
Waterloo MapleToronto, April 06, 2003 - Waterloo Maple Inc. announces its sponsorship of the da Vinci Project. Waterloo Maple is providing advanced mathematical modeling software tools to the project.
 
In the Media

Sun Shines for Canada
Kinderlsey Space port?
Worlds first from Sask
Off the Ground
Off the Ground
Real Life Rocket Man
Launch Site Chosen
Space Rocket Challenge
X Prize Judge

more

From the archives


CFDRC Software Integral Part of da Vinci Project Quest


U.S. based ANSYS becomes major sponsor


Da Vinci Polytechnic Sponsors The da Vinci Project


da Vinci Project Featured in Discover Magazine

 

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