When Tim Pickens, president of Orion Propulsion, decided to add nitrous to this 2003 Chevy pickup, he wasn't talking about one of those weeny little squirt bottles. No sir, nothing but a full-blown asphalt and nitrous-oxide powered hybrid rocket engine would do.

Pickens, whose rocket credentials include leading the propulsion team for the world's first private spaceship, the X-Prize-winning SpaceShipOne, is displaying his hot rod at the event of the year for up and coming rocketeers, the Wirefly X-Prize Cup in Las Cruces, New Mexico October 20-21. The truck's rocket engine puts out 2,750 lb of thrust, enough for 3/4g acceleration, and it's controlled from the passenger seat by a hand-held video game controller. Dash mounted video displays allow the driver and co-driver to watch the rocket engine in action.

The inaugural X-Prize Cup will also feature the Mark-1 X-Racer, the prototype racing rocket for the upcoming Rocket Racing League. Check out all the action here, including a live webcast of the event.

[Source: X-Prize Foundation]

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