The X-Prize is a prize sum of $10 million to be awarded by the X-Prize Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to make cheap,frequent yet safe human space flight a reality.
It is same in concept as the aviation prizes in the early 20th century, like the $25K Orteig prize won by Charles Lindburg.
It aims to accomplish this by giving away the prize to the builder of a reusable space vehicle that meets the criteria set by the organisation.
These criteria include:
The vehicle must have a capability to seat three persons.
The must reach a height of 100 kms.
The flight should be repeated in a span of 14 days.
The project should be privately financed completely.
The spacecraft should have high reusability.
The net result of the above rules means that the "space ship" should be cheap to build and run.
Prize named after Anousheh and Amir Ansari is co-founders of venture capital firm Prodea, Inc. They also co-founded Telecom Technologies, Inc., a supplier of softswitch-based solutions for network and service providers, which was acquired by Sonus Networks in 2000.. Read the press release announcing the sponsorship.
24 teams have competed for the prize, one won it last week