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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Space.com: Data From Recent Test Flight of Private Spacecraft Released
chabot imageSpace.com: The May 13th flight of the privately-financed SpaceShipOne has verified that the craft and its operators are close to attempting suborbital flight. Their goal: Two consecutive missions, two weeks apart, aimed at winning the Ansari X Prize purse.
SpaceShipOne has undergone a series of 14 confidence-building missions -- air toted, gliding, and powered flights -- much to the satisfaction of SpaceShipOne’s builder, Scaled Composites of Mojave, California.
Another test hop is on the books, before trying to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition, according to sources close to the project.
The quest by Scaled Composites to demonstrate non-government piloted space flight operations is led by aerospace innovator, Burt Rutan, who heads the company. Financial backer of the space plane project is Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and chief executive officer of Vulcan Inc.
The Ansari X Prize money is to be awarded to the first company or organization to launch a vehicle capable of carrying three people to a height of 62.5 miles (100 kilometers or some 330,000 feet), then return safely to Earth, and repeat the flight with the same vehicle within two weeks. Read More

Scaled.com posted new pictures on their website:
SpaceShipOne in feather above 200,000 ft on flight 14P. San Diego is at left, Santa Barbara is under the left wing and Edwards Air Force Base is at right/center.
View from back seat at apogee, flight 14P. Note bright sun cast on interior while black sky is seen out top, right and forward windows.
View looking aft at 150kft in vertical, mach 2 climb after burnout, flight 14P. Edwards AFB is at low/center and the Air Force rocket test site is in center.
Just after landing on flight 14P. Pilot Mike Melvill describing the experience while Burt and Crew chief Steve Losey admire. Note color stripes on leading edge TPS to measure aerodynamic heating.


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