Headlines > News > SpaceShipOne set for prize-winning attempt

SpaceShipOne set for prize-winning attempt

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:48 am
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chabot imageAlen Boyle Released a new article, it includes:

The flight plan calls for SpaceShipOne to be carried underneath its White Knight carrier airplane for takeoff from the Mojave Airport at 6:47 a.m. PT (9:47 a.m. ET). When the paired planes rise to an altitude of 47,000 feet (14.3 kilometers), the rocket plane would be released, then fire up its engine for a 90-second burn at about 7:50 a.m PT.

At the peak of the ride, the pilot — whom Rutan declined to name Tuesday — should be able to see the curvature of the earth beneath the blackness of space, and feel about three and a half minutes of weightlessness. SpaceShipOne would then land back at Mojave at about 8:30 a.m PT.

Hundreds of pounds worth of video equipment and mementos will ride in the seats behind the pilot — including personal tools from Scaled Composites’ workers, tree seedlings, a teddy bear, Rutan’s 1961-vintage college slide rule, an heirloom watch and a copy of “Spirit of St. Louis,” Charles Lindbergh’s book about his 1927 solo trans-Atlantic flight.

There could well be other payoffs in addition to the X Prize: On Monday, Virgin founder Richard Branson announced that he would license SpaceShipOne technology for a new fleet of commercial spaceships, in a deal worth as much as $21.5 million. David Scott, managing director of American Mojave Aerospace Ventures, noted that the nonexclusive deal left his venture free to forge other licensing agreements as well.

“I’ve actually had four other parties approach us,” Scott told reporters.

Peter Diamandis, president and founder of the St. Louis-based X Prize Foundation, said the growth of a suborbital space industry was one of the original aims of his eight-year effort.

“We’ve stimulated a new generation of ships. … I wouldn’t be surprised if we see not just Virgin Galactic, but a half-dozen other vehicles,” he said.

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