CHRISTIAN DARKIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRISTIAN DARKIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
SpaceShipOne private spacecraft. Image 2 of 3. Computer artwork of SpaceShipOne above Earth. The Milky Way is seen across top. 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 a sub-orbital level at 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 the US company Scaled Composites, funded by billionaire Paul G. Allen. For a sequence of flight artworks, see images S690/007-009.
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