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Santa Fe Rocket Racing

July 29th, 2008 -Conducts 1st Succcessful Public Flight

June 26, 2008 - Rocket Racing League to Unveil Competition Aircraft

April 14, 2008 - RRL Announces First Exhibition Race, Upcoming Race Schedule

January 14, 2008 - RRL Breaks Ground On Aerospace Business Park 

January 10, 2007 - Inventor Connections - Connect Press Rocket Racing!

October 26, 2007 - THREE NEW RACE TEAMS JOIN Rocket Racing League®


The Rocket Racing League celebrated the historic inaugural flights of the Rocket Racer®, which captivated the hundreds of thousands of people on-hand at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. Beginning with the first public demonstration flight of the Rocket Racer on Tuesday, July 29th and followed by additional flights on August 1st and 2nd, the Rocket Racing League showed the world what the future
of sports, entertainment, and aviation will look like. The Rocket Racing League is a new entertainment sports league combining rocket engines and 21st century technology to make it the most interactive and exciting fan sport in the world.

"We did it!" said Rocket Racing League founder and CEO Granger Whitelaw. "The three flights we conducted last week have shown the world what the future of racing and entertainment will look like. We are looking forward to the next step of conducting our first exhibition races and displaying the amazing 3D racetrack in the sky technology."

During all three flights, two-time NASA Shuttle commander Rick Searfoss was the test pilot and ignited the Rocket Racer's rocket engine and took to the skies above Oshkosh for 10-minute demonstrations that comprised between 15 to 35 seconds of burn time. aerobatic moves in different angles including a 90 degree turn, "Aileron" rolls and the "Double Immelman," which is extremely difficult for most planes but not so for a Rocket Racer given its power and thrust The Bridenstine DKNY Rocket Racer is based on Velocity Aircraft's canard airframe that is outfitted with an XCOR Aerospace LOX engine capable of 1,500 lbs. of thrust.

"These flights would not have happened without the amazingly hard working team here at Rocket Racing League," continued Whitelaw. "Working with the development teams at XCOR and Velocity Aircraft as well as the logistics folks at EAA, the flights went off without a hitch and the Rocket Racer performed exactly as planned."

At a press conference prior to the July 29th flight, Granger Whitelaw officially introduced DKNY MEN as the first official sponsor and clothing provider of the Rocket Racing League and official team sponsor of Bridenstine Rocket Racing, one of six teams set to compete in future Rocket Racing League races.

For more information or to find a schedule of future Rocket Racing League events, browse through our site. 

Rocket Racing League to Unveil Competition Aircraft, More at AirVenture

Several flight demonstrations planned throughout week
The Rocket Racing League is moving ahead with its plans to have a major presence at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration," with the unveiling of its competition aircraft, flight demonstrations and special presentations during the weeklong event.

The RRL team has been working overtime to meet its goals for demonstration flights planned for three days during the convention. The flights, planned for July 29, August 1 and August 2, use aircraft based on Velocity Aircraft homebuilt canard designs. It marks the first public flights of these aircraft, which were first introduced in April.

"The Rocket Racing League demonstrations have the potential to be among the most exciting flights ever seen in the long history of AirVenture," said Adam Smith, EAA's vice president of membership, who participated in the initial Rocket Racing League announcement in New York two months ago. "This is an entirely new facet of flight, and where better to unveil it than in front of the world's most diverse gathering of aviation enthusiasts."

The flight activities at EAA AirVenture will begin on July 29 with a single-ship demonstration to open the afternoon air show. On August 1-2, the first full demonstrations of the Rocket Racing League concept are planned, using large outdoor screens to showcase how competitors will fly a "raceway in the sky" via in-panel and 3-D helmet displays during actual competition. All of the flights will also highlight the innovations in aircraft and engine technology that makes this new competition possible.

"We can't thank the folks at EAA enough for allowing us to debut the Rocket Racing concept at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh," said Granger Whitelaw, founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Rocket Racing League. "Not only are these first public demonstrations important milestones in the progression of the Rocket Racing League, but by sharing the experience and thrill of rocket racing with the public, as well as harnessing the technological and business development power of the aerospace industry, we will be changing the future of sports and entertainment."

Along with the public aircraft unveiling and demonstration flights, the Rocket Racing League is scheduled to make several other presentations throughout the week, including an evening program at EAA's Theater in the Woods on Monday, July 28. During these presentations, the Rocket Racing League will present the "inside story" on the creation and development of this entirely new concept in aerial competition.

More details will be announced at as they are finalized. More information on the Rocket Racing League is available at


Rocket Racing League® Announces First Exhibition Race, Upcoming Race Schedule, Key Partnership and Acquisition

New Entertainment Sports League to Stage First Exhibition Race at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh August 1st and August 2nd

Armadillo Aerospace to provide LOX Engine for Rocket Racer

Rocket Racing Composite Announces Acquisition of Velocity Aircraft

NEW YORK - April 14, 2008 )-The Rocket Racing League® (RRL TM), the new entertainment sports league that combines the exhilaration of racing with the power of rocket engines, today announced that the First Exhibition Race of the Rocket Racing League® will take place on August 1st and August 2nd at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. In addition to announcing the dates of the First Exhibition Races, the Rocket Racing League® also announced the remaining series of exhibition races for the rest of 2008, the acquisition of Velocity Aircraft by Rocket Racing Composites Corp., and announced that Armadillo Aerospace will manufacture liquid oxygen (LOX) engines for the Rocket Racing League®.

First Exhibition Race

On August 1st and August 2nd, the first Exhibition Race of the Rocket Racing League® will be held at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, the largest air show in the world. For the first time ever, two Rocket Racers will compete head-to-head in a demonstration race in the raceway in the sky. The Rocket Racer pilots will view the "raceway in the sky" via in-panel and 3D helmet displays and the 700,000 people in attendance at EAA AirVenture will witness the racing action live on multiple large projection screens.

"The first Exhibition Race of the Rocket Racer is an important milestone in the progression of the Rocket Racing League® ," said Granger Whitelaw, Chief Executive Officer of the Rocket Racing League® . "We look forward to sharing the experience and thrill of rocket racing with the public."

"EAA has followed the development of the Rocket Racing League® concept with great interest," said EAA President Tom Poberezny. "We are excited about the opportunity to develop a whole new audience of aviation enthusiasts, while at the same time promoting aviation innovation."

Exhibition Race Schedule

Following the first Exhibition Race at EAA AirVenture, the RRL will hold exhibition races at venues around the country, including:
• Reno National Championship Air Races (Reno, NV) - September 10-14
• Aviation Nation, Nellis AFB, (Las Vegas, NV) - November 8-9

Velocity Aircraft Acquisition

Rocket Racing Composite Corporation, a subsidiary of the RRL , announced the acquisition of Velocity Aircraft of Sebastian, FL, a leading manufacturer of four-seat canard pusher experimental aircraft. Under the terms of the agreement, Velocity Aircraft will become a wholly owned division of Rocket Racing Composite Corp. and will produce an airframe that will be consistent for all competing Rocket Racers . Through a rigorous research and development, all Velocity-constructed Rocket Racers will be equipped with the safest-possible airframe for any kind of aircraft. The cockpit seats for all Rocket Racers will be reinforced to withstand impacts up to 20G load and other safety measures will be added using a methodology similar to that of F-1 and Indy Car to better protect pilots and passengers alike.

Scott Baker, president of Velocity, Inc. offered his enthusiastic remarks that, "Velocity is truly excited to be a part of Rocket Racing. Many of the technology advances that are planned for the Rocket Racer models transcend and offer performance and comfort benefits to Velocity owners who use their aircraft for personal and business travel."

Armadillo Aerospace

Rocket Racing is also pleased to announce that Mesquite, Texas-based Armadillo Aerospace will be providing LOX engines for the Rocket Racing League® . A leading provider of reusable rocket-powered vehicles, Armadillo Aerospace is focused on vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) suborbital research and passenger flights, with an eye towards eventual paths to orbit.

"Flying people on our rockets has been our goal from day one, and we are excited to work with the Rocket Racing League® to provide a system that will be safe for the pilots, cost effective and robust for the teams, and spectacular for the crowds," said John Carmack, President of Armadillo Aerospace.



Las Cruces, NM (January 14, 2008) - The Rocket Racing League® (RRL), in collaboration with the City of Las Cruces, the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Office and the New Mexico Economic Development Department, today broke ground on the first phase of the RRL Aerospace Business Park, construction of two of the first hangars to be built at the east end of Las Cruces International Airport.

The hangers, scheduled for completion by May, are included in the 20-year lease agreement between the RRL and the City of Las Cruces for six 100,000 square-foot parcels at the airport. These and future hangars will house the aircraft and teams competing in the League in addition to RRL aircraft related operations.

The RRL Aerospace Business Park, which adjoins the Las Cruces International Airport, will serve as the world headquarters for the Rocket Racing League® and will provide the needed facilities for associated aerospace and aviation related industries based in Las Cruces. With more than 300 acres of development planned, the business park will not only serve the RRL industry but will evolve into a destination location for fans visiting an RRL museum, Hall of Fame, education centers and other attractions.

"This ground breaking is the first step in making Las Cruces the next great racing industry cluster," said Rocket Racing League® CEO Granger Whitelaw. "Indianapolis, IN is the home of the IRL, Charlotte, NC is the home of NASCAR and now Las Cruces, NM is the home of Rocket Racing."

The Rocket Racing League® (RRL) is a new sports league that combines the exhilaration of racing with the power of rocket engines. The RRL was founded by two-time Indianapolis 500 winning team partner Granger Whitelaw and X-Prize Chairman and CEO Peter Diamandis.

Inventor Connections - Connect Press Rocket Racing!

By John Myers, ConnectPress Staff Writer

January 10, 2007

In the middle of the desert there's a long strip of black asphalt, painted with a white line. In a moment the tranquil desert air will be disrupted by an explosion of heat and sound. What looks like a cross between a space shuttle and an F-14 fighter jet rockets down the runway.

The airplane climbs banks and maneuvers following an invisible track, racing against time toward its destination. Moments later a second airplane will take off in hot pursuit racing against the clock.

Welcome to Rocket Racing, a competition in which high powered jets, called X-racers, travel at outrageous speeds to complete a three-dimensional race course in the sky. Instead of burning rubber around a brick-and-mortar track the racers use a cockpit mounted heads-up-display (HUD) to race around a virtual track that not only requires racers to make turns at high speeds but also climb and descend through virtual gates that are super-imposed onto their cockpit HUD.

Rocket racing is the brain child of Peter Diamandis and Granger Whitelaw. Diamandis is the founder of the X-prize Foundation, which offers private grants to competitors in various scientific fields like aeronautics and genetics. Whitelaw is a founder and managing director of a consulting firm for technologically progressive companies.

Each X-racer uses a liquid oxygen and kerosene rocket engine designed to burn for four minutes and then give the pilot enough thrust to glide for several more minutes before needing to refuel.

Rocket racing was born after a late-night brainstorming session between Diamandis and Whitelaw, inspired by a trip to a NASCAR race.

"Rocket racing was formed by myself and Peter Diamandis. Peter was working on the X-prize foundation while I was involved in racing Indy cars. I took Peter to the Indy 500 and after he saw the crowd he looks at me and says 'we have to do this with rockets somehow.' After a couple late-night sessions we realized we had hatched out what would become the Rocket Racing League," says Whitelaw.

Both Diamandis and Whitelaw say they created rocket racing for three reasons: to create a profitable business, to create what they call "a truly 21st century sport," and to motivate advancements in space and aeronautics.

"Some great technology can come from this. If you look at Formula-1 and Indy racing, both of those sports have been test beds for the major OEMS like Ford, Firestone, Ferrari and Toyota. They spend billions a year to test their new technologies in high heat, high stress, and repetitive conditions with professional feedback. Something like this has never been available in the aviation industry. There is no place where new technology like this is being tested. So the interests are wide, varied and deep," says Whitelaw.

Whitelaw cites the development of the HUD or augmented reality display that is used to create the virtual track for the pilots. In rocket racing, the HUD is used to show pilots the gates they need to fly through to complete the track. Outside of rocket racing, the display system could be used to help guide pilots to a landing strip or regulate air traffic patterns.

Whitelaw says he believes Rocket Racing will open up many ripe opportunities for commercial exploitation.

"There are multiple revenue streams: ticket sales, concessions, broadcast TV rights, IMAX or reality TV rights, gaming properties, advertising and sponsorship," says Whitelaw.

Diamandis says there are plans to create an online videogame based on rocket racing. The game would allow players to superimpose their virtual racer over footage of live races allowing players to race against the professionals.

He says he expects to build a cottage industry around rocket racing. "In the same way 100s of companies have migrated to Indianapolis and around the various NASCAR headquarters, we expect companies to follow us. Because they want to be where the action is."

He goes on to say, "Eventually Rocket Racing will build an industry around testing, manufacturing and design in the aerospace industry."

"We're trying to bring the aerospace industry into the 21st century. Aerospace has gotten stuck in the way of doing business as the military-industrial-complex. Because it is a military operation it is inefficient, expensive and political. We're not trying to revolutionize it, we just want to bring it up to the standards of the rest of the world," says Diamandis.

Diamandis also has a very personal reason for creating rocket racing. He wants to relive a childhood dream of bringing space exploration back to the forefront of public discourse.

"Bringing space exploration back to public consciousness has been my dream since I was nine years old," says Diamandis. He says he hopes to use the revenue generated from rocket racing to fund other private space-based endeavors.

"By 1992 we were supposed to have gone back to the Moon and Mars. None of these things have happened. Today there has been very little development in rockets. Rocket engines were developed in the 1950 and 60s as ICBMs. So I gave up on the government. I started looking for ways to base the commercialization of space on tourism and entertainment. Somebody is going to do the first private reality show about going into orbit or the moon and it will capture a huge amount of attention," he says.

"What rocket racing can really do is bring a cadre of thinkers to work on low cost reusable engines. Having low-cost and efficient engines is one of the first requirements for going into space. Another thing rocket racing will do is make space exciting for kids like when I was younger" says Diamandis. "My mission is to bring the space frontier back the public. I want to be one of the first private explorers to land on the moon," he says.

"This is a 21st century sport for 21st century people," says Whitelaw.

Special thanks to readers George Raskulinecz and Cliff O'Connell for pointing out that the racers should run on fuel derived from liquid oxygen not nitrogen.

John Myers is a ConnectPress Editor/Reporter who holds a BA in Journalism and Media Arts from the University of New Mexico and is an avid gamer and high-tech enthusiast.
Published 12/19/2006 00:00:00 ConnectPress, Ltd © 2007


Civilian Test Pilots and Military Combat Veterans Join to Take League International

NEW YORK - October 26, 2007 - The playing field of the Rocket Racing League® doubles in size today and goes international as three new teams announce their acceptance into the League, bringing a total of six teams primed to compete in the Rocket Racing League®'s inaugural season. Rocket Star Racing, Team Extreme Rocket Racing and Canada-based Beyond Gravity Rocket Racing join existing teams Bridenstine Rocket Racing, Santa Fe Racing and Thunderhawk Rocket Racing.

"Our goal has been to bring diverse international teams to the League with highly skilled world-class pilots and flight crews coming from both civilian and military backgrounds," said company co-founder and CEO Granger Whitelaw. "These guys will be competing with each other even on their drive to the quarterly League picnic."

Rocket Star Racing ( is led by Todd White, a former Navy Test Pilot and Internet entrepreneur. With Todd's 3,000-plus flight hours in 30 different types of aircraft including the F-4, F-15, F-16, F-18, T-38, T-A4, T-2 and P-51, he's well qualified to pilot his own Rocket Racer®®. "I didn't see it coming. Who would have thought I'd be strapping a rocket on my back in competitive rocket racing, pushing the state-of-the-art and being part of an industry first," said White. Todd is a graduate of the U.S Navy Test Pilot School and received a Masters Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School. Todd was named Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Zero (VX-20) Test Pilot of the year in 1996.

Team Extreme Rocket Racing is the brainchild of LT Bryan Schwartz, currently on active service as an Aviator for the U.S. Navy. A native of Pensacola, Florida, Bryan's life has always revolved around aviation. In 2000 he received his Bachelor's degree from Auburn University in Aviation Management. His 8 year military career has resulted in 1600 hours of flight time, including over 125 carrier landings. Bryan has experience flying a variety of aircraft including the T-34C Turbo Mentor, T-44A Pegasus, T-2C Buckeye, E-2C Hawkeye, and T-45C Goshawk. Bryan is also a proficient aerobatic flight instructor. "Rocket Racing combines the skills that I have obtained through my military training and takes my abilities to the next level while creating a new industry for the next generation of dreamers," said Schwartz. In precision formation flying, Bryan instructs pilot teams, flying $25 million dollar fighter jets at distances as close as 4 feet, on how to conduct precise aerobatic maneuvers in both daytime and nighttime scenarios.

Beyond Gravity Rocket Racing is led by Canadian team owner Brian Feeney, founder of the 1996 Da Vinci Project which was a leading contender in the Ansari X PRIZE Competition. More recently Brian launched the DreamSpace Group whose focused activities include manned spaceflight technology development, space tourism and rocket based sports and entertainment events. "The launch of Beyond Gravity affirms that anything is possible with vision, determination and ingenuity. We hope to be an inspiration to people and to show that there is no greater power than the will of the individual, that there is freedom in exploration and joy in discovery. The important discoveries for a society seldom come at the points where the path is smooth and straight. It is the curves in that path to adventure that make the trip interesting and worthwhile," said Feeney.

"Flying a Rocket Racer will be an unprecedented one-of-a-kind experience unavailable anywhere else in the world. Maintaining a very high standard for pilots commensurate with the experience itself is reinforced with the latest team additions," said Whitelaw. "Gentlemen, light your rockets!"

Santa Fe Rocket Racing