Collection Item Summary:
Launched from its White Knight mothership, the rocket-powered SpaceShipOne and its pilot ascended just beyond the atmosphere, arced through space (but not into orbit), then glided safely back to Earth. The flight lasted 24 minutes, with 3 minutes of weightlessness. Its three record-setting flights were:
* 100 kilometers (62 miles) altitude*; Mike Melvill, pilot; June 21, 2004
* 102 kilometers (64 miles) altitude; Mike Melvill, pilot: September 29, 2004
* 112 kilometers (70 miles) altitude; Brian Binnie, pilot; October 4, 2004
With SpaceShipOne, private enterprise crossed the threshold into human spaceflight, previously the domain of government programs. The SpaceShipOne team aimed for a simple, robust, and reliable vehicle design that could make affordable space travel and tourism possible.
SpaceShipOne won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for repeated flights in a privately developed reusable spacecraft, the Collier Trophy for greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in 2004, and the National Air and Space Museum Trophy for Current Achievement.