JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
SpaceShipOne and White Knight in flight on 4 October 2004, with pilot Brian Binnie at the controls. This historic flight took place on the 47th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch. SpaceShipOne was successfully launched from the belly of its carrier craft, White Knight, and achieved a height of 112 kilometres, beating the height gained by Mike Melville on 29 September 2004. Two flights in less than two weeks allowed an American team, Scaled Composites, to successfully complete both objectives of the Ansari X-Prize rules. The team, headed by Burt Rutan, were awarded $10 million for this achievement.
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