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Saturday, June 26, 2004
Space.com: SpaceShipOne Data Shows Vessel Took a 'Trajectory Excursion'
Flight data from the first private vehicle to soar beyond the Earth's atmosphere has been posted by Scaled Composites, designer and builder of the SpaceShipOne. The flight was not trouble-free.
With 63-year-old pilot Mike Melvill at the controls, SpaceShipOne’s fourth powered flight on June 21 sliced through the sky high over Mojave, California desert. It was the first commercial astronaut flight by exceeding 328,000 feet (100 kilometers) -- to the edge of space.
The flight marked the first time an aerospace program had successfully completed a piloted mission without government sponsorship.
Momentum carried the day
On the June 21 flight day, SpaceShipOne was released at 47,000 feet from underneath the White Knight carrier airplane. The SpaceShipOne’s hybrid rocket motor quickly roared to life, burning for 76 seconds, according to the Scaled Composites flight log.
The hybrid rocket engine propelled pilot Melvill and the SpaceShipOne to 2.9 Mach (2,150 miles per hour), or nearly three times the speed of sound. At motor burn out, SpaceShipOne was at 180,000 feet, with momentum carrying the craft the rest of the way into space and reaching a height, or apogee, of 328,491 feet (62.2 statute miles), or 100.1 kilometers. Read More
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