Building on the work done with XCOR's rocket-powered Long-EZ, the RRL is aiming to encourage the development of lightweight reusable rocket motors by turning rocket aircraft into a TV-friendly sport. It's an interesting approach, though I'm not entirely sure if it will work.
Like the X-Prize, the RRL is going to take a tiered approach. Tier 1 will race rocket-powered planes around a virtual course. Tier 2 will be a performance contest for SpaceShipOne-style sub-orbital craft. Tier 3 is the future we all dream of:
The Rocket Racing League envisions a future where a race begins with a fleet of with a sponsor-branded spaceships on a spaceport tarmac in the New Mexico desert, extends through the atmosphere into low earth orbit, circles the Earth one or more times, executes a high-speed re-entry and ultimately returns to the spaceport tarmac under the applause and awe of tens, if not hundreds, of millions of spectators worldwide.It's an approach that fits in nicely with Burt Rutan's dream of encouraging a new generation of aerospace engineers by inspiring them.