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Friday, June 18, 2004

Space.com: Big Secret: Who Will Fly SpaceShipOne?
chabot imageWho is piloting the first non-governmental rocket ship in an attempt next week to fly to the edge of space?
According to sources close to the project, the decision by those in the know at Scaled Composites - operators of the privately-built SpaceShipOne - remains a tight-lipped, vacuum packed secret.
The chosen pilot - picked from among a small cadre of previously announced Scaled Composites astronauts - is to be revealed at a press conference to be held this Sunday, the day before the slated June 21st flight of the rocket plane.
The flight-worthy four are: Brian Binnie, Mike Melvill, Doug Shane, and Pete Siebold.
Of that group, Mike Melvill has chalked up the most time behind the controls of SpaceShipOne, counting captive flights, freefall glides and the last powered flight of the craft. He has worked for Burt Rutan for over 26 years and has some 24 years of experience as an experimental test pilot.
However, out of the last three rocket-powered flights, Pete Siebold, Brian Binnie, as well as Melvill have each taken their turns at punching the rocket motor start button. More Info


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