Private spaceflight test ends in explosion

Rubicon-1A team of Ansari X Prize hopefuls suffers a major setback when their vehicle, the Rubicon 1, explodes after liftoff in an unmanned test flight. According to Eric Meier, one of the designers of the Rubicon 1, the $20,000 vehicle cannot be recovered or repaired, but must be completely rebuilt. Meier and his team intend to build a new craft and continue vying for the X Prize, whose deadline is the end of 2004. Two other teams, one Canadian and one American, have already announced dates for their qualifying flights.