JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Brian Binnie (left) collecting his wings at a news conference, from Federal Aviation Administrator Marion Blakey (right). The news conference was held after the completion of the Ansari X-Prize rules by an American team, Scaled Composites. On 29 September, Mike Melville flew SpaceShipOne to a height of over 100 kilometres. Six days later, on the 47th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch, Brian Binnie 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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