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Last Updated: Tuesday October 04 2005 13:52 GMT

Rocket racers to fight for prize

Rocket plane - artist's impression

Hi-tech rockets will be screaming their way through the skies in super-speed contests, as plans for a new racing league have been unveiled.

The Rocket Racing League will see top pilots fly rocket planes around a track 1,500m above the ground.

It's the brainchild of Peter Diamandis, the man behind the $10m X-Prize for travelling into space.

He hopes the new contest will get people to come up with better designs for engines and future spacecraft.

Rocket plane - artist's impression
Will the rocket races look like this?

The X-Prize was won by SpaceShipOne, a rocket ship that made two successful trips into space within two weeks.

"The Rocket Racing League will inspire people of all ages to once again look up into the sky to find inspiration and excitement," said Dr Diamandis, who's chairman of the RRL.

The first "X-Racers" are being built for the series, and it's hoped more teams will enter with speedy new designs.

The first races are planned for 2006, and will all be staged in the US.