SpaceShipOne

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne

    Rocket-powered spacecraft with twin swept wing-tail booms, designed for suborbital flight; hybrid propulsion system (solid rubber fuel and liquid nitrous oxide); pivoting wings "feather" for stable reentry; white body with blue stars on nose and underside; round windows across nose; three-seater cabin.

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    SpaceShipOne Nose

    Image of the nose of SpaceShipOne, which completed the first manned private spaceflight in 2004.

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    SpaceShipOne With Feathering Deployed

    SpaceShipOne with its iconic feathering deployed in the Museum's Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. 

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    SpaceShipOne

    SpaceShipOne has no heat shield or retro-rockets for reentry because it doesn’t need them, unlike earlier spacecraft.

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    SpaceShipOne Feathered Wings

    With a unique design feature of jointed "feathered" wings, SpaceShipOne operated much like a badminton shuttlecock. Upon reaching top altitude, it tipped over for a smoother, more efficient reentry. 

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    SpaceShipOne Closeup Rainbow Striping

    Closeup of rainbow striping painted on the wings and fuselage of SpaceShipOne. This temperature-sensitive paint was a low-cost, reliable way to determine the temperatures endured by the spacecraft.

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    Richard Branson with Model of SpaceShipOne

    Richard Branson with model of SpaceShipOne in Mar 2006, CARL DE SOUZA / AFP / Getty Images

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    SpaceShipOne Team Celebrate

    SpaceShipOne team celebrate winning the X-Prize

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    SpaceShipOne and White Knight Mothership

    As it was carried to its launch altitude, SpaceShipOne hung beneath the larger White Knight aircraft.    

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    SpaceShipOne Panorama

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    How SpaceShipOne Fueled the Dream of Space Tourism

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Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

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.