SS1 private spacecraft being launched

SS1 private spacecraft being launched

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Credit: SCALED COMPOSITES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: SpaceShipOne private spacecraft being flown up to high altitude by its carrier craft White Knight. SpaceShipOne is attached to the underside of the larger White Knight craft. The first space launch of SpaceShipOne is scheduled for 21 June 2004 from Mojave, California, USA. After release from the underside of White Knight, it will fire its rocket to ascend outside the atmosphere to 100 kilometres altitude, before gliding back to Earth. If successful, SpaceShipOne will be the world's first commercial (non-governmental) manned space vehicle. It was designed by Burt Rutan's team at Scaled Composites, and funded by billionaire philanthropist Paul G. Allen.

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