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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

X Prize IRC Channel and Other Bloggers

There is another blogger here who is volunteering; he is blogging his experience at

Elf, one of the volunteers, has set up an IRC channel that some volunteers might be in and other folks who are interested in some up to date info can hit. Check it out at on #SpaceShipOne.

I'll be blogging starting pretty early tomorrow morning; I have to be up at 3:00 AM tomorrow morning. Thats going to be painful :)

Official X Prize M&Ms!

M&M has created some special, branded M&Ms based on the X Prize:

Every M&M has a little SpaceShipOne on it:

For folks that don't know, Mike Melvill, the pilot for the first SpaceShipOne flight, released a bag of M&Ms into the air during his flight into zero gravity.

Volunteering for the X Prize, Part 4

We've made it to the Mojave Space Port!

I'm here at the volunteer meeting, waiting for it to begin. I'll be posting live what they are talking about; there is WiFi here. They gave us all nifty X Prize t-shirts and name badges:

Alot of folks are here from the Illinois Space Society, which I think is related to something called the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, founded by Peter Diamandis at MIT. They are from a new branch over at University of Illinois. They have speakers, presentations, research, jobs, education, etc.

From the rumour mill: someone told me that Paul Allen would be here, but not Richard Branson of Virgin.

Different speakers are talking now:

They are going to have a 1000 VIPs showing up, people who have made this possible from a financial perspective, celebrities, political figures.

Someone asked who the pilot would be, but Dan said he could not tell us at this time.

Dan, one of the volunteer organizers, is saying how this is like watching the Wright brothers fly or watching Lindbergh land in Paris. That it is a delicate and beautiful experience. He said to really take in this day which will never come in our lives again.

Dan is introducing the General Manager of the Airport.

Alot of really cool, honest, emotional talks by the different chief staff members.

One of the speakers mentioned that the Native American word for wind is Mojave.

They're pointing out that trash can stop a flight, we need to pick up any trash we see.

Volunteering for the X Prize, Part 3

We made it to Bakersville, where our hotel is; it was a 6 hour drive. I collapsed on the bed and took a nap. I'm typing this at the hotel, getting ready to jump in the shower and get dressed up for the volunteer meeting over at the Mojave Airport (Space Port?).

Two funny things I saw on the road driving up here. The first was a gas station named Gas War:

That just seems like a terrible name for a gas station; weren't most of the wars we've fought recently Gas Wars? :) I went into the gas station and asked them why they named themselves that; they said it is because they get in "gas wars" to have lower prices with neighboring gas stations.

I also saw a giant semi where someone had written "Flush both Jhons" (actual spelling). Dad and I couldn't figure it out until we realized the driver meant to Flush John Kerry and John Edwards, like a toilet. I really liked how he spelt Jhon though; I bet the driver wouldn't have appreciated if I asked him whether that was a French-style spelling. :)

Volunteering for the X Prize, Part 2

We are in the car on our way to Mojave, CA, passing by the Altamont wind farm, the largest concentration of electric windmills in the world:

Pops is on the cell phone with grandma, driving:

I'm trying to get a bit of sleep and do some meditation to clear my mind. I'm typing this on my tiny stowaway keyboard for my palmpilot:

Volunteering for the X Prize, Part 1

Today I am off to the X Prize down in Mojava, CA. My dad flew in from Houston, Texas to go with me; we got a rent car and are going to head down there together, a father son thing. Here's my pops, taken this morning:

It's about a 6 hour drive. We have a hotel that is an hour away because everything in the city filled up and sold out, and this was several months ago!

I'll be blogging the whole experience. I am volunteering on the Media Relations team, and have to get there before 9 pm to check in. There will be a meeting at 9:45 with all the volunteers, including Diamandis himself! I'm so excited. Diamandis is one of the founders of the X Prize and has been a major figure in the movement.

Here's me this morning, looking tired because I stayed up until 4 AM (!) reading Harry Potter; the book is evil and addictive.

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