Brian Binnie and Mike Melville

Brian Binnie and Mike Melville

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Credit: JOHN SANFORD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Brian Binnie and Mike Melville at a news conference, following the completion of the Ansari X-Prize rules by an American team, Scaled Composites. The team, headed by Burt Rutan, won $10 million. On 29 September, Mike Melville (right), flew SpaceShipOne to a height of over 100 kilometres. Six days later, on the 47th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch, Brian Binnie (left) achieved a height of 112 kilometres. This is a new altitude record for non-orbital aircraft. Both men reached the required altitude height to be awarded astronaut status. They are the first people to become civilian (non-governmental) astronauts in the world.

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