Wirefly X Prize Cup Event in 3D

X PRIZE CupThe Wirefly X Prize Cup is an outdoor space exposition hosting several competitions for some major prizes (including over $2.5 Million from NASA) for space related technology. The event is being held on October 20-21, 2006 (see here for details) at the Las Cruces Airport in New Mexico. It will be a great educational event with rocket launches, NASA exhibits, jets, and more. With some help from Google – a sponsor of the event – we have put together a 3D model of the airport and the X Prize Cup event including examples of exhibits, stage, and even the large TV projection screen.
X PRIZE Cup in 3D in Google EarthThis 3D collection uses photo textures for realism which requires Google Earth Version 4 (beta). Download the new version here if you don’t already have it. Open the X PRIZE Cup in 3D file and then select the “Tour” folder on the left. Choose “Tools -> Play Tour” from the menu (or select the tv-remote-like triangular play button below the Places pane) to start a flying tour of the exposition. If you open the models folder you can turn on a X Racer rocket plane sitting next to the stage. Here is the X PRIZE Cup page for the 3D model. Alternatively, you can watch a Google video showing the X PRIZE Cup in 3D content. You can imagine what this event will be like with 20,000 or so people, NASA exhibits, rockets being launched, jets flown by astronauts going by, model rockets launched by school kids, and much more. If you can get to Las Cruces by October 20 or 21, I highly recommend it.
By the way, I have another interesting 3D space model for GE coming tomorrow, and there will be more content for the XPC event being shown in Google Earth during the event itself. So, watch this blog or the X PRIZE Cup web site for more information.

New content:

  • Aerial Photo – Taken at 3:15 PM – October 20, 2006 of the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup from an airplane flying overhead. This is the first time an aerial photo was taken, processed, and published on Google Earth on the same day. NOTE: Make sure you are using Google Earth 4.

Related content:

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. I have tried using multiple versions of the Google Earth Version 4
    release for Windows XP and every time I use it I continue to have
    significant performance problems with opening large KML files. The KML
    files that I an using are around 12 MB and contain a large number of
    I believe that the problem is caused by the fact that version 4 limits
    Google Earth’s maximum CPU usage when opening a KML file to 50
    percent. I have monitored the CPU usage via Task Manager and Google
    Earth never exceeds 50 percent. The System Idle process is using the
    remaining CPU. Opening the 12 MB KML file takes several minutes in
    Version 4 where as it takes less than 30 seconds in Version 3.
    Is there a way to remove this “throttle” on how much CPU Google Earth
    Version 4 will use when loading a KML file or do I have to revert back
    to Version 3 again?

  2. Great. Thank you for sharing.

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