Suit, SpaceShipOne, Mike Melvill

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    Suit, SpaceShipOne, Mike Melvill

    Charcoal grey-blue zip-front, one-piece coverall with long sleeves, high collar and zippered pockets on upper arms, waist, and lower legs; crew knit cuffs; velcro closure on soft knit collar. Four patches: chest: The Society of Experimental Test Pilots and Mike Melvill; right shoulder: SpaceShipOne Flight Test; left shoulder: U.S. flag.

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This object is on display in the Moving Beyond Earth exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Test pilot Mike Melvill wore this suit 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 suit 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 and accessories to the Museum in 2005 when SpaceShipOne entered the national collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft.