Volume: 02, Issue: 16 10/06/2004 
SpaceShipOne is shown gliding back to base during flight 15P in an air-to-air photograph. Photo courtesy Scaled Composites.
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Investor Paul Allen, Pilot Mike Melvill, and Scaled Composites President Burt Rutan after the first private manned space flight. Photo courtesy Scaled Composites.
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SpaceShipOne rocket ignites. Photo courtesy Mojave Aerospace Ventures, LLC.
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Other Articles in This Issue:
World Space Week 2004: Space and Sustainable Development
NASA Mourns Loss of Original Mercury 7 Astronaut Gordon Cooper
Lance Bass to Visit California Schools
World Space Week Offers Events around the Globe
Celebrate World Space Week in Your Classroom
 

SpaceShipOne Claims ANSARI X PRIZE

On Oct. 4, 2004, SpaceShipOne and the Mojave Aerospace Ventures, LLC. team soared more than 360,000 feet above Earth and coasted back to a controlled landing to win the $10 million ANSARI X PRIZE. The vehicle, piloted by Brian Binney, broke a world record for altitude during the flight.

"Burt Rutan, Paul Allen and the rest of the SpaceShipOne team are to be congratulated for this important achievement. They successfully demonstrated a new human spacecraft, a new propulsion system and a new high-altitude airborne launch platform," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. "The spirit of determination and innovation demonstrated… shows that America is excited about a new century of exploration and discovery. We wish the SpaceShipOne team continued success and many more safe flights."

SpaceShipOne was released from its mothership, the White Knight, at 50,000 feet. Binney continued into space, breaking the August 22, 1963 record held by Joseph A. Walker, who flew the X-15 to an unofficial world altitude record of 354,200 feet.

This was the second flight necessary for the SpaceShipOne team to win the ANSARI X PRIZE. On Sept. 29, SpaceShipOne coasted above the 100 km altitude point and successfully completed the first of its X Prize flights. Pilot Mike Melvill was at the controls and was able to pull the vehicle out of an unexpected roll at the top of the flight.

The $10 million ANSARI X PRIZE was created by the X PRIZE Foundation to encourage space tourism through competition among entrepreneurs, engineers and other rocketry experts. The prize was conceived to reward the team that designed the first private spaceship to successfully fly to a sub-orbital altitude of just over 62 miles (100 kilometers) on two consecutive flights within two weeks. The competition was modeled after the Orteig Prize, won in 1927 by Charles Lindberg for the first non-stop flight between New York and Paris. All teams had to be privately financed.

For information about the ANSARI X PRIZE, SpaceShipOne, and the White Knight on the Internet, visit the following websites:
http://www.scaled.com/
http://www.xprize.org

    
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