Remember Speed Racer? These days, Speed is starring in Berkshire Hathaway's GEICO commercials, but I can remember marveling as a kid at the Speed Racer theme, Racer X, Trixie, and the incomparable Mach 5.
I was reminded of them this morning as I read about the Rocket Racing League (RRL), founded by the creator of the $10 million Ansari X Prize, which last year was awarded to SpaceShipOne for its two successful suborbital flights. The idea, it seems, is to re-create NASCAR, Formula One, and the America's Cup in the skies -- with a dash of the high-tech danger and excitement that characterized Speed's adventures through the 1960s.
According to the press release, the RRL will conduct an aerial speed circuit with competitions all around the United States. Not that there will be an equivalent to a Daytona Speedway in the sky. The races are to take place using what the League calls X-Racers -- rockets designed by privately held XCORAerospace -- at 5,000 feet. Each racer will have its own lane in the air, and the courses will feature long straightaways, vertical ascents, and deep banks. Viewers will be able to watch the action from the ground using global positioning systems and well-placed cameras.
The League says it is already in negotiations for a video game, and it is seeking a partner for television rights. The first races are planned for next year ,with a full fleet of 10 X-Racers to be ready by October 2007, according to Space.com.
I'm thoroughly encouraged by the new league. And not just because I want to watch rockets blast by each other in a display reminiscent of Star Wars. The investor in me gets a thrill from the prospect of kids once again getting excited about exploring the far reaches of space. I see the stuff of cultural phenomena and investment potential.
Indeed, dreams have helped to create billions in stock market value for generations. Think of Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) or, better yet, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN ) , whose founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, is pursuing the space tourism market with nearly the same vigor as Virgin Galactic pioneer Richard Branson. Heck, even Old Worlders such as Boeing (NYSE: BA ) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT ) were once nothing more than wishful thinking.
Each of these companies was inspired by something. That something became a catalyst that sprung their Rule Breaking founders into action. Potential exists for the Rocket Racing League, if successful, to act as a catalyst for entrepreneurial youths looking toward the skies. My portfolio can't wait to meet them.
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Fool contributorTim Beyersthinks the Colorado sky is still the prettiest he's ever seen. Tim owns shares of SpaceDev. You can find out what else is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile, which ishere. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.