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Registration opens for International Symposium for Personal Spaceflight

"Making Spaceflight Personal" is the theme of the 2nd Annual International Symposium for Personal Spaceflight, to be held Oct. 17 and 18 in Las Cruces.

Make that "personal" in the broadest sense of the word. From the medical considerations of spaceflight to the financial considerations of space entrepreneurs, the symposium will cover a wide spectrum of issues relevant to commercial space travel.

Expanded to two days this year, the symposium is held annually as part of the X PRIZE Cup competitions. The symposium will take place at the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. The X PRIZE Cup - featuring Lunar Lander Challenge and Vertical Rocket Challenge competitions, Space Elevator games and other attractions - will take place Oct. 20 and 21 at the Las Cruces International Airport.

"The symposium will deal with the many interrelated factors that will be crucial as we develop a viable commercial space industry in southern New Mexico," said Patricia Hynes, director of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium and co-chair of the symposium with William Gaubatz of the X PRIZE Foundation.

The symposium is presented by New Mexico State University, the X PRIZE Foundation and the NMSU-based Space Grant Consortium, plus two organizations respected for their technical expertise and personal experience in spaceflight - the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Association of Space Explorers (ASE).

"We are happy to have the AIAA and the ASE join with us this year," Hynes said. "Their experience and know-how will enhance our understanding of the challenges and excitement that lie ahead."

ABC television newsman Sam Donaldson will be the master of ceremonies for the symposium.

Detailed information and an online registration form can be found on the symposium Web site, http://spacegrant.nmsu.edu/isps/2006/. Full-access registration for both days, including meals and receptions, is $200. The student rate is $50.

The schedule for Tuesday, Oct. 17, includes sessions on space vehicles, space tourism and medical considerations for suborbital and orbital spaceflight. The second day's schedule includes sessions on maximizing your personal spaceflight experience, spaceports, business aspects of spaceflight, and a panel discussion with experienced space explorers.

"By expanding to two days we are able to offer more tracks, guest speakers and expert panels," Hynes said. "We also have added more time for participants to interact with the exhibitors and other attendees."

An optional tour of White Sands Missile Range and the White Sands Test Facility is planned for Thursday, Oct. 19.

For more information or assistance with registration, contact Joylynn Watkins of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, (505) 646-6414 or nmsgc@nmsu.edu.

Information about the X PRIZE Cup activities scheduled for Oct. 20 and 21 can be found on the Web at http://www.xprizecup.com/.