SpaceShipOne private spacecraft

SpaceShipOne private spacecraft

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Credit: SCALED COMPOSITES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: SpaceShipOne private spacecraft on the ground. The first space launch of SpaceShipOne is scheduled for 21 June 2004 from Mojave, California, USA. It will be flown to high altitude by a carrier craft, and then released. It will then fire its rocket to ascend outside the atmosphere to 100 kilometres above the Earth, at sub-orbital speeds. It will then re-enter the atmosphere and glide back to Earth. If successful, SpaceShipOne will be the world's first commercial manned space vehicle. All previous space flights were large, expensive government programs. This spacecraft was designed by Burt Rutan's team at Scaled Composites, funded by billionaire philanthropist Paul G. Allen.

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