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X marks the spot

— Organizers of next month's X Prize Cup announced today that their ticket window is officially open for business, with prices ranging from $10 for daily admission ($5 for kids and students) to $250 for a VIP ducat with access to the flight line, food and an open bar. Active military personnel can get in for free (check the Web site for details).

The headliner for the Oct. 20-21 event at the Las Cruces Airport in New Mexico is the Lunar Lander Challenge, during which rocket teams will vie for $2 million in NASA-backed prizes. To figure out the favorites, check out Robin Snelson's Lunar Lander Challenge Weblog, where she's tracking every twist and turn in the buildup to the X Prize Cup.

The $400,000 Space Elevator Games, another one of the NASA-supported Centennial Challenges, will play out during the X Prize Cup as well. For the straight dope on the space elevator movement in general, and the games in particular, click on over to the new and improved Space Elevator Reference and Ted Semon's Space Elevator Blog.

But wait ... there's more. Event organizers promise these other highlights:

  • High-powered rocket launches
  • Earth-shaking static engine firings
  • Astronaut trainer fly-overs
  • Flight and astronaut simulators
  • Educational activities for kids
  • Chances to meet and speak with Astronauts
  • Spaceship and robot display area

There's a bit of a trade-show aspect to all this as well: You'll hear more about future plans for the Rocket Racing League, a new spaceship concept from Canada's Da Vinci Project and the orbital exploits of millionaire space passenger Anousheh Ansari. You just might catch a glimpse of yours truly as well. If you do, be sure to say hello - I'll be the bespectacled geek hunting furtively for a high-speed wireless connection.