:: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 ::
SpaceShip One reaches Space
History: Over the Mojave desert, SS1 reached space again. It was a bit of a wild ride. After launch from the mothership, the craft lit the engine and went vertical. Soon after, it went into a wild and unplanned series of rolls - in excess of 30 by my count - as it reached space. Watched it live on CNN. It was a little stressful for everyone when the ship decided to go out of control. It was rather dramatic watching the long distance footage as it lost then gained control. Then Mike Melvill, the pilot, reached orbit. And then landed glider like in the clear and sunny California desert. Doing a victory roll, this time, before touch down.
Funny thing was that the CNN camera person on the ground doing the interviews, when his or her own camera was able to track the landing, tracked the wrong thing. They tracked one of the four chase planes also designed by Rutan and pretty funky looking, and it was only when SS1 was a few feet over the runway that they panned over and refocused on the right target... :)
If the Scaled Composites ship does it again within a couple of weeks, the X-prize is theirs.
:: Mike Wood 11:39 [+] ::