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Test pilot Mike Melvill wore this helmet on June 21, 2004, during the first privately funded spaceflight of SpaceShipOne. After its launch from a carrier aircraft called White Knight, Melvill piloted SpaceShipOne to an altitude of 100 km (62 miles) before returning to land in Mojave, California. This test flight paved the way for two subsequent flights that earned the SpaceShipOne team the $10 million Ansari X Prize for the first privately funded spaceflights. Melvill also wore this helmet on September 29, 2004, during one of those award-winning flights. Melvill partnered with Burt Rutan in a long career of designing and flight testing experimental aircraft. He gave his flight suit, helmet, and other accessories to the Museum in 2005 when SpaceShipOne entered the national collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft.
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<p>Test pilot Mike Melvill wore this helmet on June 21, 2004, during the first privately funded spaceflight of SpaceShipOne.</p>