SpaceShipOne firing rocket

SpaceShipOne firing rocket

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Credit: CHRISTIAN DARKIN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: SpaceShipOne private spacecraft. Image 1 of 3. Computer artwork of SpaceShipOne firing its rocket engine. The Moon is at upper left. SpaceShipOne successfully launched into space on 21 June 2004, the first time a privately funded spacecraft had done so. It was piloted by Mike Melvill. After being carried up a few kilometres, an 80-second rocket blast took it to over 100 kilometres altitude. After a few minutes in space, it re- entered the atmosphere and glided back to Earth. Burt Rutan headed the design team at Scaled Composites, funded by billionaire Paul G. Allen. N328KF is the craft's US aviation registration number. Flight artworks in sequence S690/007-009.

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