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SpaceShipOne Claims $10M Prize

MOJAVE DESERT, California (CNN) -- SpaceShipOne climbed into space for the second time in a week to claim the $10 million Ansari X Prize.

X Prize officials said the privately funded craft reached 368,000 feet -- well into space -- Monday to win the $10 million prize. The threshold of space is 328,000 feet.

Pilot Brian Binnie reported a shaky flight with "a little roll" but did not experience the 29 rolls Mike Melvill experienced last week.

More coverage: InstaPundit


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Comments (15)

It's like a modern day Kitt... (Below threshold)

It's like a modern day Kitty Hawk! Just awesome! Congrats to all involved in this historic event!

This is a big day for small... (Below threshold)

This is a big day for small business!!

They also managed to break ... (Below threshold)
Michael Angier:

They also managed to break the X-15 altitude record from 22 Aug 1963. New record: 368,000 feet; Previous record: 354,200 feet.

and John Kerry will find a ... (Below threshold)

and John Kerry will find a way to tax this venture of American ingenuity as well......

Did this flight pass the "g... (Below threshold)

Did this flight pass the "global test"?

Did they get permission from our traditional allies in europe for launching?

Couldn't we better spend this money to feed the poor?

Was this aircraft produced using only union labor?

What was the effect on the environment? Were any endangered birds harmed?

Did the spacecraft tear a hole in the ozone, resulting in respiratory disease for thousands of minorty children?

Is this company a racist organization? in three flights theres not been one minority at the controls?

What government agency approved this flight?

Will this flight cost thousands of government workers their jobs?

What is the potential for death and distruction from this aircraft?

Is the rocket exhaust fully biodegradeable?

Is this aircraft handicap accessible and in full compliance with the American Disabled Act?

Why have potential women pilots of SpaceShipOne been suppressed?

Is there a "glass ceiling" in space?

Although we are all happy about the flight, we have to question the timing as its is occuring just 30 days prior to an election, and this type of good news is clearly just an attempt by the Bush Administration to distract from their horrible record in Iraq.

Is this an attempt by "Big Space" to keep average working class americans away from access to space?

Can these flights be taxed to help pay for schools?

(You see what happens when you listen to NPR in the morning!)

There's no "glass ceiling" ... (Below threshold)

There's no "glass ceiling" in space. There is, however, a "transparent aluminum ceiling."

You know Al Gore invented s... (Below threshold)

You know Al Gore invented space flight? :-P

If only Al Gore could fit i... (Below threshold)

If only Al Gore could fit in Spaceship one.

It only proves once again t... (Below threshold)

It only proves once again that private enterprise can do nearly anything that government can, and do it cheaper, with better results.

BIG DEAL WHO CARES BIG WAST... (Below threshold)
hot rod:


"the meek shall inherit the... (Below threshold)
The other JD:

"the meek shall inherit the earth"...
the rest of us are going to the STARS!
(That means you, hot rod.)

I think hot rod must have b... (Below threshold)

I think hot rod must have been commenting on the Kerry campaign, and did the usual all-caps, no punctuation thing in addition to commenting on the wrong post.

Don't worry, hot rod. Someday you'll look back on this, laugh nervously and change the subject.

Lets be honest about what p... (Below threshold)

Lets be honest about what private interprise did here. Dont get me wrong... this is an amazing event in the history of space flight. However this team had the benefit of decades of previous space flight knowledge developed by governmet sponsored programs. from the math used to calculate trajectories, high speed airflow testing advanced materials not to mention propellants, all developed by government programs and government money (well our money)... They just had to figure out how to use this technology to get the job done

A bit of a Jonny come lately but I say its about time he showed up. Id love to be the first in line though

- Loved NASA's belated 11th... (Below threshold)

- Loved NASA's belated 11th hour jump in support.....as usual AFTER they saw it was going to succeed and they didn't want to risk showing their aloffness and normal arrogance.....All of a sudden they want to "partner" with the private industry programs and have even set up an awards program...For all its successes the whole space program has been a black hole for sucking up money, way past the moon trip glory days.....

- In the means time if you think a few missing shingles on the launch building at the Florida cape is the real reason for a 7 month delay on Shuttle launches you aren't paying attention....Insiders say that the safety problems that have resulted in Astronauts deaths are just the tip of the iceburg and any delays they can get are badly needed to quietly clean up other problems they don't want to broadcast.....

- The existing Shuttle is an outmoded 35 year old design that is beyond repair.....Other designs have been waiting in line for a shot but the way NASA does things is all CYA....They would rather take chances than make major changes in order to maintain the status quo.....Every program they have on the drawing boards is a multi 100's of billion dollar boondoogles....Given the same money from a single NASA program the private companies would already be terraforming Mars and mining the moon.....

I went to the launch.... ve... (Below threshold)
Carrick Talmadge:

I went to the launch.... very cool. Normally you don't get a contrail at 48,000 (roughly the launch elevation of SpaceShipOne from White Knight). Maybe it's because it launched earlier in the day or for some other factor related to different atmospheric conditions, but we could see a contrail from White Knight arching up there a bit to the north east from the launch field before separation. After the separation, we saw a plume rapidly going up and up (the ignition point was visible as a bright star), and a separate contrail from White Knight. SpaceShipOne's plume was incredible to see from the ground.

Anyway, the reason I comment on this is that CNN is following its usual policy of negative spin on good news, even if they have to make things up. Brian Binnie reported no problems at all and I certainly don't remember anything about a "shaky flight" (I was an observer at the same news conference than CNN attended). When asked if there were any anomolies, the answer from their flight engineer was "no".

What is very cool about SpaceShipOne is that it is flow by wire, just like a Cesna. The pilot gets information and advice from the ground, but, when the safety of the vehicle is at stake, the flight rules state that he has ultimate authority to decide what actions to take. In other words, he is a real "space rocket pilot".

Another cool thing is that three of the four launches this year which have put men in space have been from Scaled Composites.






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