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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Historic Space Launch Attempt Scheduled for June 21
chabot imageMojave, CA: A privately-developed rocket plane will launch into history on June 21 on a mission to become the world’s first commercial manned space vehicle. Investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and aviation legend Burt Rutan have teamed to create the program, which will attempt the first non-governmental flight to leave the earth’s atmosphere.
SpaceShipOne will rocket to 100 kilometers (62 miles) into sub-orbital space above the Mojave Civilian Aerospace Test Center, a commercial airport in the California desert. If successful, it will demonstrate that the space frontier is finally open to private enterprise. This event could be the breakthrough that will enable space access for future generations. Read More
More news sources: BBC.co.uk Space.com CNN.com telegraph.co.uk MSNBC.com spaceref.com floridatoday.com slashdot.org newscientist.com scotsman.com

BBC.com article:
Aviation history is set to be made on 21 June if SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately-built spacecraft to go into space. Last month it completed an impressive demonstration over Mojave airport, when SpaceShipOne and its carrier aircraft White Knight moved a step closer to claiming the X-prize. Pilot Mike Melvill took the vehicle closer to space than any non-governmental craft has been. Its 64km (211,000ft) altitude was twice as high as SpaceShipOne had been piloted to before. To win the Ansari X-Prize, that altitude - 100km (329,000ft), the official boundary of space has to be reached twice in two-weeks by a three-man spacecraft. SpaceShipOne's 14 shakedown tests have now put it into a position to make the bid for space.

A topic has been set up on the official x-prize forum related to this news release:

Based on the success of the June space flight attempt, SpaceShipOne will later compete for the Ansari X Prize, an international competition to create a reusable aircraft that can launch three passengers into sub-orbital space, return them safely home, then repeat the launch within two weeks with the same vehicle.

The Discovery Channel and Vulcan Productions are producing RUTAN’S RACE FOR SPACE (wt), a world premiere television special that documents the entire process of the historic effort to create the first privately-funded spacecraft. From design to flight testing to the moments of the actual launch and return, the special takes viewers behind-the-scenes for the complete, inside story of this historic aerospace milestone. RUTAN’S RACE FOR SPACE will be broadcast later this year.


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