SpaceShipOne private spacecraft

SpaceShipOne private spacecraft

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Credit: SCALED COMPOSITES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: SpaceShipOne private spacecraft firing its rocket motor. The first space launch of SpaceShipOne is planned for 21 June 2004 from Mojave, California, USA. After release from its carrier craft White Knight (not seen), it will fire its rocket for 80 seconds, and then coast outside the atmosphere to 100 kilometres altitude. It will then re-enter the atmosphere and glide back to Earth. It will spend about three minutes in space at sub-orbital speed. 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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