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Thursday, May 13, 2004

Space.com: Private Rocket SpaceShipOne Makes Third Rocket-Powered Flight
chabot imageSpace.com: Chalk up another booming flight of the privately-backed SpaceShipOne, the piloted rocket plane designed to soar to the edge of space and glide to a runway landing.
With pilot Mike Melvill at the controls -- following release from the White Knight turbojet-powered launch aircraft high above the Mojave, California desert -- SpaceShipOne punched through the sky today boosted by a hybrid propellant rocket motor. According to sources who witnessed the flight, SpaceShipOne appears to have reached an altitude of a little over 200,000 feet.
Scaled Composites of Mojave is the builder of SpaceShipOne, an effort led by aviation innovator, Burt Rutan. The financial backer of the project is Microsoft mogul, Paul Allen.
Today's flight builds upon a progression of 13 shakeout tests, mostly un-powered drop glides along with two engine-thrusting runs. The White Knight took off with SpaceShipOne at around 10:30 a.m. EDT today with the rocket plane landing an the ground a little after 12 noon.
SpaceShipOne's builders are expected to release specific flight data regarding today's test flight as soon as they analyze the mission.
SpaceShipOne's first powered mission took place on December 17, 2003, with the hybrid motor firing for 15 seconds. A second powered flight occurred on April 8th of this year. In that trek, the motor burned for 40 seconds. A major contractor for the hybrid motor used in the rocket plane is SpaceDev of Poway, California.
Routine recording of multiple video streams on board White Knight and on SpaceShipOne are expected to help in pilot and engineering evaluation of the flight.
Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation of Pasadena, California provides the critical camera gear. They are also supplier of the RocketCamâ„¢ line of onboard video systems used on rockets, spacecraft and other remote platforms. Read More


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