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X Prize Launch At Mojave Spaceport [updated: success!] 583

knovis writes "The Ansari X Prize is being attempted at this moment: 9:30am EST. Bert Rutan and Paul Allen's Scaled Composites is preparing to make the first of 2 launches necessary. For the uninitiated, the X-Prize is a $10M prize available to the first entirely privately funded organization that creates a vehicle that travels to 100km above the earth's surface (low earth orbit) twice within 2 weeks. IIRC, SpaceShipOne is planning 3 flights for that 2 week period, for safety. Best of luck to Private Spaceflight. Did anyone else notice that Virgin Galactic has just been launched?" Project Zen writes "MSNBC has an article about how the seats won't be filled with people but mementos of the crew." Several readers sent links to CNN's story on the flight, and space.com's continuing coverage, including by webcam; NASA TV also has an eye on the launch. (Watch this space for updates.) Update: 09/29 15:57 GMT by T : Disconnect writes "As reported all over, SpaceShipOne successfully flew its first X-Prize flight attempt. As of now (11:45:40EST) the officials have not cleared the flight as successful, but it's looking good."
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X Prize Launch At Mojave Spaceport [updated: success!]

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  • Good luck (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Our hopes and prayers go with you.
    • My hopes go with you. There are no prayers to speak of from me for you or anyone or anything.
    • Given the pace of technological advancement in the West, we can be certain that a winner for the prize will emerge. SpaceShipOne is likely to be that winner.

      For sentimental reasons, we should probably rename SpaceShipOne to "The Doohan" -- in honor of James Doohan. Before he passes into oblivion, he would certainly feel honored that the first prototype of a commercial spacecraft is named after him.

      There is always the remote possibility that the winner of the space prize will evolve, 100 years later, i

  • I hope they found a good way to tie all those momentos down. It would be a shame if flying slide-rules created a problem during the launch.
  • Please lock your seat back trays in the upright positions...
  • by FuzzzyLogik ( 592766 ) * on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:19AM (#10383093) Homepage
    CNN is covering it, not sure how great the video will be. but it appears it was delayed due to high wind. The White Knight just took off about 5 minutes ago. give them another hour or so before they actually fire the rockets in SpaceShipOne.

    Let's just hope Mike does ok with this, i'd hate to see someone die on an absolutely amazing thing these guys are doing. Granted I think they'll do ok but I am still worried about the guy, especially his family.

    Go Mike GO!
    • by Aerion ( 705544 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:24AM (#10383140)
      but it appears it was delayed due to high wind.

      I'm not sure it was delayed, per se. The high winds were anticipated as typical conditions of the Mojave - usually when the sun comes up in the Mojave, the winds die down for a while. This makes it a popular place for test flights, because the conditions right after sunrise are pretty predictable.
    • by FuzzzyLogik ( 592766 ) * on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @11:46AM (#10384859) Homepage
      Using my karma bonus to get this up a bit.

      To _ME_ it looked like he got wind sheer or whatever that started the roll. You could see him fight it but it seems like he may have over compensated and sent it into a roll accidentally. But I have a feeling it was wind related and not mechanical or pilot error. It's gotta be hard to control that thing at those speeds with manual controls.

      That was madness, me and my dad watched it all on CNN, i swear that reporter woman needs to be shot, dumb as a brick i tell ya.

      On another note that intentional roll rocked, I seen him do that and cheered, that was amazing guys.

      To me this is like my parents being able to watch apollo and all the first space flights. It's incredible and I'm glad to get to experience it. If i could i'd like to shake the hands of every man and woman involved in this effort, they made my day better by showing us what can be done with some effort and stick to your guns.

  • About an hour (Score:4, Informative)

    by Aerion ( 705544 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:19AM (#10383100)
    White Knight took off a little under 5 minutes ago, but it has to reach an altitude of 48,000 feet before detaching from SpaceShipOne. The NASA TV coverage says that will take about an hour.

    I would consider skipping class for this but I have a test.
  • by MadFarmAnimalz ( 460972 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:19AM (#10383101) Homepage
    Although I am unable to conceive of the type of spacefaring mishap which could result in a mere broken leg...

    I jest, but good luck.
    • Although I am unable to conceive of the type of spacefaring mishap which could result in a mere broken leg...

      The craft hits strong turbulence on the way up, causing over 1000 pounds of Tang from the cargo bay to come crashing down into the crew compartment. And just as fast as that - you have a broken leg.
      • causing over 1000 pounds of Tang from the cargo bay to come crashing down into the crew compartment

        And as long as it is evenly distributed amongst ten women, that sounds about the most pleasant way to break a leg imaginable.

        If, on the other hand, it all belongs to one, then that's about the most horrific way imaginable to break a leg I've ever heard. Very, very disturbing.
  • Just to nitpick (Score:5, Informative)

    by CodeWanker ( 534624 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:19AM (#10383103) Journal
    100 km is not low earth orbit. It's just the lower boundary for being declared an astronaut.
    • by miracle69 ( 34841 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:35AM (#10383224)
      Don't confuse the issue with your "facts"
  • by Coz ( 178857 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:22AM (#10383125) Homepage Journal
    There's a webcast link from the people actually sponsoring it (who presumably know more than the normal press:
    XPrize.Org [xprize.org]
  • by I confirm I'm not a ( 720413 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:23AM (#10383127) Journal

    ...at least here in the UK. The last flight I was able to make plans in advance to see it live, but this is the first I've heard about this one - and it's the real thing!

    Still, very best of luck to everyone involved - proof that some folk still have the "Right Stuff".

    • This one is important, but the first and third will be the most important. The first launch they did was the first of it's kind, hence news coverage galore. the third will likely be when they win the X-Prize, hence, it's a big deal. The second launch (the one they're doing today) is important but they'll likely do coverage of the third flight instead of this one.
  • by kieran ( 20691 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:23AM (#10383131)
    Given that the webcast is fscking useless, the best coverage I've dug up so far is that by "Spaceflight Now": http://spaceflightnow.com/ss1/status.html [spaceflightnow.com]
  • Direct NASA TV links (Score:5, Informative)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:23AM (#10383135)
    Real Media [nasa.gov]
    Real Media high quality [nasa.gov]

    Windows Media [nasa.gov]

    Many more... [napacomfort.com]
  • by sielwolf ( 246764 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:23AM (#10383136) Homepage Journal
    until it got /.'ed to hell. What sort of story will we tell our grandchildren?

    "Yeah... I remember when the first commercial space launch occured. I was sitting in front of an idle browser window..."
  • Bravo!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kippy ( 416183 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:25AM (#10383147)
    Best of luck. hopefully by the time I'm having my midlife crisis, I can afford a trip up there too.

    This is really historic and very exciting. This is capitalism, pioneering and ballsiness at its best. All the stuff that made America great in the past. Nice to see it in the present.
  • more nitpicks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:25AM (#10383148)
    Its Burt not Bert and Scaled Composites is Burt's company not Burt's and Paul Allen's. Paul Allen is just funding this particular project. Scaled has done many other interesting projects over the years.
    • Um, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tgd ( 2822 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:05AM (#10383503)
      Scaled Composite built SpaceShip One but the spacecraft is not owned by them, it is payed for and owned by American Mojave Aerospace Ventures, which is owned by Burt Rutan and Paul Allen.

      • Re:Um, no. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by justins ( 80659 )
        Scaled Composite built SpaceShip One but the spacecraft is not owned by them, it is payed for and owned by American Mojave Aerospace Ventures, which is owned by Burt Rutan and Paul Allen.

        And with the deal announced a day or two ago re: "Virgin Galactic" you can bet Paul Allen has seen a nice return on his investment. Or at least, the odds of such a return have improved dramatically.
  • Obvious, but needs pointing out...
    Up and Down - still impressive, what were the Virgin tickets $100,000?
  • I'm impressed. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doesn't_Comment_Code ( 692510 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:39AM (#10383247)
    I'm amazed how elegant this space craft is. Granted, the NASA flights were about half a century ago. And these guys have a lot more to work with. But it seems to me like they are doing an amazing job! Think of the NASA budget and manpower as compared to these guys. They have yet to acomplish all that the space program has accomplished - but dang are they doing a good job. Every time I see the separate space crafts and how elegantly they maneuver... I'm just impressed. I think about the old rockets just dropping pieces into the ocean. But this two staged design that flies to altitude and then separates into to pilotable vehicles seems very well thought out.
    • Re:I'm impressed. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by crawling_chaos ( 23007 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:58AM (#10383419) Homepage
      Actually, they're not doing much more than the Air Force did with the X-15 [af.mil] program in the fifties and sixties. I'll be curious to see if Scaled's promised orbital vehicle retains the same elegant lines. I doubt it. Orbital velocities are much higher, so I'm betting we end up with a much chunkier vehicle, a la the Shuttle or Buran, only smaller.
      • Re:I'm impressed. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by netringer ( 319831 ) <maaddr-slashdot@NOSPam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:54AM (#10384178) Journal
        Actually, they're not doing much more than the Air Force did with the X-15 [af.mil] program in the fifties and sixties
        That's not a coincidence. As a young man, Burt Rutan actually worked as an civilian engineer and designer for the Air Force and worked on the X-15 program.

        The general wisdom was the X-15 was a better bet for getting into space vs. missiles but it lost out to the rocket boys in the politics at NASA.
        • Re:I'm impressed. (Score:4, Informative)

          by crawling_chaos ( 23007 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @11:40AM (#10384770) Homepage
          The general wisdom was the X-15 was a better bet for getting into space vs. missiles but it lost out to the rocket boys in the politics at NASA.

          No, the flyboys at Yeager's Test Pilot school believed that the X-15 was a better bet, in particular because Mercury was just a "man in a can." At that time, missiles were the best bet to get to orbit in a sustainable fashion, as the re-entry problem for blunt bodies had already been solved during the design of ICBM nosecones.

          Furthermore, there is no chance that Rattan's craft will scale up to a lunar vehicle as the mothership aircraft would have to be enormous. If he can get an orbital vehicle out of this technology then this could prove to be an excellent way to ferry people to LEO, but it won't have the cargo capacity of even a Delta, much less a Saturn V.

    • by Treeluvinhippy ( 545814 ) <liquidsorcery@g m a i l.com> on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:15AM (#10383628)
      They are essentially recreating the X-15 experiments made in the early sixties.

      http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/x15/cove r.html [nasa.gov]

      Those missions a rocket plane would detach from a B-52 and fly to suborbit and then glide back to earth and land like a plane.

      What is really important is that resently there was an article about there being more billionaire's in the United States then there ever was in the history of the United States.

      http://www.fool.com/News/mft/2004/mft04092701.htm [fool.com]

      And now Paul Allen and Burt Rutan are about to prove (I hope!) that these rich kids can have their very own space program for a mere $20 million. Which hopefully will lead to an increase in aerospace start-ups and maybe a boom in aerospace technology similar to the .com boom.

      I hope this happens because not only will we finaly start seeing the promises made during the space race come to fruitation, but we can also learn from our past mistakes made during the dot com era and make a shit load of money by bailling out when the getin's good.

      It's going to take a few years for this to start, Virgin is (assuming it's true and not a publicity stunt it's libel to be) not planning launches for another three years. That's time enough for everyone to change their major's and hit the books for the next big thing.

      Of course if spaceshipone crashes and burns you can just forget about what I just said.
      • by slew ( 2918 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @11:34AM (#10384703)
        Not to say that a few people shouldn't try to eek out some bucks in a startup, but on the other hand it's easy to forget the aerospace crash of the '80s and the dotbombs in the 00's to realize that you really need to have underlying value to sustain something in the long run.

        Do what you want to do and be the best at it you can, don't take a java class and hope for a dot-com million (unless you are already the type that regularly plays the local lottery). That's a bit of free advice (of course you get what you pay for).

        Also it's interesting to note that no mass transit system in history has been consistantly profitable over time (e.g., busses, trains, airplanes, ferries). There are some isolated local successes, but overall the failure rate is really high and it's often the government (or a government licenced monopoly) that comes in an ends up picking up the slack (usually justified as infrastructure investment).

        Some food for thought on your future career choice.
        • Aeroplanes (Score:3, Insightful)

          Seem fairly profitable to me. In fact, Ryanair are profitable while still charging ridiculously low fares. Of course you qualified your statement with "consistently" and "over time" which basically makes it worthless. Who'd have thought that any business would be profitable all the time and for ever.

        • Is there an industry with an exception of entertainment and pharmacuticals that has sustaining value over time? ( There probably is, I just can't think of them at this time)

          I will reinforce your arguement with another example before I counter it.

          In 1905 detroit there were over two hundred american automotive companies in or surronding detroit. Automobile Startups popped up left and right with entrepenuers opening their wallets to anyone with a neat idea about cars and how they will impact society and how
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:45AM (#10383303)
    Branding the X-Prize at the (relative) last minute, post-establishment, has always seemed like a real second-hander move to me.

    Once upon a time, I was truly excited and idealistic about the X-Prize. Now that it's the Ansari X Prize, and the Microsoft billionaire's project is going to win, it feels a bit "so what?"... it seems like Ansari and Allen could have just teamed up and accomplished the same thing - only, I guess, there wouldn't be as much publicity that way (and maybe no subsequent deals with Virgin). But the "contest" aspect now rings false and feels extraneous.
    • Ansari and Allen aren't the ones who created the craft. Burt Rutan and his team did all of the work. Allen provided the money and Ansari just gave the X-Prize a much needed booster shot.

      Don't forget that another team from Canada plans on making a go at the prize too (or at least a footnote on the record books at this point).
    • What the X-Prize foundation does next year is going to be the real issue, not the co-opting of the name. The Ansari family has pushed a huge pile of case to the foundation for the rights to add their name onto the X-Prize... enough to set up one or more new prizes.

      If the foundation takes the money and runs to Argentina or Pakistan you have a right to be pissed (I will be too.) If instead they announce a prize to get people to orbit, I would be incredibly impressed. It is just in that case Robert Bigelow is going to beat them to the punch with his own prize.

      Orbital (LEO) flight: The next major frontier for private spaceflight. Keep in mind the quote from R.A. Heinlein: "Low Earth Orbit is half-way to the rest of the solar system." If you can get there, getting the rest of the way to places like the moon or Mars or even Europa is going to be comparatively easy.
  • by slot32 ( 815657 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:53AM (#10383381) Homepage
    Hmm... Lets hope it doesn't need military Helicopters with long polls to catch it when it re-enters the atmosphere!
  • O'Keefe jealous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schmaltz ( 70977 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @09:55AM (#10383392)
    Most of O'Keefe's speech seemed to be about Bush's Mars proposal and how SSO is here because NASA let it be? A whole lotta credit-grabbing.

    Yes, I'm sure some of the technology used in WK/SSO could be traced to some NASA programs, but, please, credit where due. This is an original effort, from a true innovator who has been developing original fuselage fabrication technology for thirty years.
  • by BRock97 ( 17460 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:03AM (#10383465) Homepage
    From what I hear, they'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.


    OH! Mo-jave Spaceport! My bad.....
  • by swm ( 171547 ) <swmcd@world.std.com> on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:14AM (#10383615) Homepage
    See Flying to Orbit [std.com], with an update for SpaceShipOne
  • They did it! (Score:4, Informative)

    by belgar ( 254293 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:17AM (#10383649) Homepage
    343,000 feet accomplished just a minute ago. SpaceShipOne's on the way down now.

  • by MemoryAid ( 675811 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:20AM (#10383698)
    For those of you who haven't been able to watch live, Spaceship One experienced multiple rolls to the right on the ascent. There was no explanation available during the live broadcast....

    The CNN interviewer kept interjecting nonsense, so I muted the TV and listened to the web feed, where they didn't feel the need to talk when they had nothing to say.

    • you sofened that report wuite a bit.

      the rolls were increasing in speed to the point that they had to abort, they went into feather mode and STILL went past the mark, if it would have been a successful flight they would have went way the hell up there.

      SpaceShipOne would have been ripped apart if it was not for the pilot.

      I certianly would have shat my self, pissed myself and probably puked all over the cabin.

      They chose the right man to pilot that thing.
  • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:23AM (#10383725) Homepage Journal
    when asked how the altitiude of 100k+ was verified to the satisfaction od the x-prize organisers, the commentator replied "It's not rocket science".
    • I'm firmly of the opinion that the difficulty of "rocket science" has been built up in the public consciousness so high that, by now, even building something like SpaceShipOne from first design principles through to succesful flights isn't rocket science.
  • by kbahey ( 102895 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:27AM (#10383789) Homepage

    Did anyone notice this?

    I was watching the live feed, and saw the plane spin wildly before he cut off the engine.

    The SpaceFlightNow status update [spaceflightnow.com] page said "The craft is in a major tumble!". Several minutes after that, it was 'corrected' to : "The craft is in a major roll!"

    I think they still have some issues with the aerodynamics at this speed.

    Not that this will affect them in their bid in the race. They seem to be well poised to win.

    • Wow, looked like it rolled over 20 times in the ascent. Now that's a wild ride.

      In true test-pilot fashion, he did an intentional victory roll on the way back down.

      This is intense, I'm jumping up and down screaming at the tv...

    • Although the atmosphere is very thin at that altitude, wind gusts can reach hundreds of miles per hour. There's enough energy in them that a low-mass projectile like SS1, with its broad flat perpendicular surfaces (wings), could be spun.

      Now, it's unclear in what I've read whether SS1 has gyros. If roll is a regular occurrence with this type of spacecraft, I'm sure there will need to be some design changes to introduce better stability with respect to that axis.
  • by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:28AM (#10383799)
    was a real "screw up" eh??

  • by Jetifi ( 188285 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:30AM (#10383829) Homepage

    WHAT THIS MEANS is that I get to visit space in my lifetime, for the cost of a nice round the world cruise.

    Was watching the live webcast, and there was a point during the ascent where SpaceShipOne went into a series of barrel rolls on the way up - and it looked (to my uneducated eyes) like the pilot lost control of the craft for a bit.

    In the descent SpaceShipOne was rolling left to right quite a bit, and there was vibration clearly visible in the winglets when it went into shuttlecock mode.

    I'm watching to see how the landing goes. Fingers crossed none of the landing gear was damaged.

    • Well, it depends on how you define 'space'.

      Personally, while I respect the engineering that went into this, I don't consider this space travel. Space travel to me means at least a controlled orbital entry and return.

      I don't care that "they" have defined space at 100km. It ain't space travel.

  • by dark-br ( 473115 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:32AM (#10383854) Homepage
    1509 GMT (11:09 a.m. EDT)
    DROP! SpaceShipOne has been released from the White Knight mothership.

    1510 GMT (11:10 a.m. EDT)
    IGNITION! SpaceShipOne is firing to space in pursuit of the $10 million Ansari X Priz

    1512 GMT (11:12 a.m. EDT)
    Altitude is 250,000 feet. Craft appears to be in a tumble from the tracking cameras.

    1512 GMT (11:12 a.m. EDT)
    Altitude achieved was 330,000 feet, which was needed for the X Prize.

    1514 GMT (11:14 a.m. EDT)
    The ship appears in a much smoother orientation following the major roll experienced at the end of the burn. The wings have feathered for the descent.

    1516 GMT (11:16 a.m. EDT)
    The descent continues. SpaceShipOne looks to be under good control as the wings are folded back down and locked for a powerless glide to landing on the runway.

    1518 GMT (11:18 a.m. EDT)
    SpaceShipOne is descending through 35,000 feet and cleared for landi

    More here [spaceflightnow.com]
  • TOUCHDOWN!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by dark-br ( 473115 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:36AM (#10383918) Homepage

    SpaceShipOne has landed safely, bringing Mike Melvill back to Earth after a seemingly frightening flight that experienced a major roll during the engine firing!!!

    More info here [spaceflightnow.com]
  • by LaminatorX ( 410794 ) <sabotage@@@praecantator...com> on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @10:37AM (#10383925) Homepage
    "When something like that happens, it makes a much better chapter in the book."

    I love these guys.

  • X-Cup (Score:4, Funny)

    by Evilpitboy ( 800630 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @11:18AM (#10384509)
    X-Price goes the way of Nascar. http://www.nascar.com/ [nascar.com]
  • by Fortran IV ( 737299 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @11:19AM (#10384517) Journal
    Point out to your manager, the one who hires hotshots straight out of school instead of proven workers with years of experience: Mike Melvill, the pilot who just made history, is sixty-three years old. In some businesses he would be just two years from mandatory retirement; at Scaled Composites, Mike Melvill is still the hotshot.
  • by geekwench ( 644364 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @11:45AM (#10384854)
    ...the world over when I say

    WOO HOO!!!!

    (Seriously, I've been glued to the broadcast all morning. This is an exciting event, especially to someone like me who grew up in a house decorated with framed NASA mission patches, and photographs of Apollo rockets and the Earth as seen from space. The Right Stuff, indeed.)

  • exciting! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by t1nman33 ( 248342 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @12:09PM (#10385146) Homepage
    Wow, this is actually the most excited I think I've been about the space program since I was a little kid, dreaming of being an astronaut.

    To NASA: I'm sorry that you are officially so down on the concept of space tourism, but it's this kind of exposure that is going to get people interested in space again. What if the oceans or skies had been reserved for scientific research only?
  • by Rufus211 ( 221883 ) <rufus-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @12:24PM (#10385311) Homepage
    I'm surprised no one else has picked this new piece up:
    Robert Bigelow, chief of Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace, is apparently setting higher goals for private spaceflight endeavors with America's Space Prize, a $50 million race to build an orbital vehicle capable of carrying up to seven astronauts to an orbital outpost by the end of the decade, according to Aviation Week and Space Technology.

    Full story here [space.com]
  • by Scot Seese ( 137975 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @12:43PM (#10385508)

    Space tourists for $200k a head? Yawn.

    A slightly reconfigured SpaceShip One could probably earn a handsome profit lugging small (~300 pound) satellites into orbit, opening all kinds of GPS & communications markets to small and medium sized companies presently locked out by exorbitant boost prices.

    Although additional lift would be required from 100km to stationary orbit, it shouldn't be terribly difficult to engineer a (relatively) inexpensive modular "shell" around the satellite with 100-200 lbs of fuel and a small motor to propel it to it's desired parking place. After all, most of the energy required to launch satellites is wasted just fighting your way out of orbit, and that is what SpaceShip One has solved. A cheap ride to LEO. Significantly less energy required from there to your parking spot.

    As more private space companies emerge, and the usual business expansion/contraction/merger phase cools down, we'll be left with a handful of competitors for various corporations and governments to shop around for cheapest boost prices. Everyone wins! Consumers get cool new gizmos & services.

    Today's launch is but a sliver-sized glimpse of the future. :)

  • by Eminence ( 225397 ) <akbrandt @ g mail.com> on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @03:15PM (#10387330) Homepage
    All those years since the old glorious space race went dead just as I was finishing elementary school I thought that getting into space is beyond my dreams. After all, my chances of becoming one of the few that fly on government funded missions were nonexistent. But somewhere on the back of my head was the thought that if I live long enough I might get a chance of seeing space and Earth from the orbit. Today's event makes that little thought stronger.

    I just wish I could work there where future is wrought.

  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2004 @07:49PM (#10389906) Journal
    Glenn Mahone
    Headquarters, Washington Sept. 29, 2004
    (Phone: 202/358-1898)

    RELEASE: 04-323


    NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe congratulated the
    SpaceShipOne team on the second successful flight of a human on
    a private spacecraft. Administrator O'Keefe was in the Mojave
    Desert, Calif., today to watch SpaceShipOne pilot Mike Melvill
    take off and safely land.

    "Burt Rutan and Paul Allen and the rest of the team are great
    examples of the kind of determination and creativity that is
    helping America achieve its exploration goals," Administrator
    O'Keefe said. "We at NASA applaud their terrific achievement
    today, as well as the spirit of competition behind the Ansari X
    Prize.We wish Mike continued safe travels to space," he said.

    >From the orbiting International Space Station, NASA astronaut
    Mike Fincke took note of the SpaceShipOne flight. "Well, it was
    nice that [cosmonaut] Gennady [Padalka] and I weren't the only
    two humans off the planet, even if it was only for a little
    while," he said during space-to-ground transmissions today.
    "So, good job and congratulations to the SpaceShipOne team!"

    Fincke's comments are available on the NASA TV Video File
    available on the Web and via satellite in the continental U.S.
    on AMC-6, Transponder 9C, C-Band, at 72 degrees west longitude.
    The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and
    audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. In Alaska and Hawaii, NASA TV is
    available on AMC-7, Transponder 18C, C-Band, at 137 degrees
    west longitude. The frequency is 4060.0 MHz. Polarization is
    vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. For NASA TV
    information and schedules on the Internet, visit:


    For information about NASA's exploration and discovery
    programs, visit:



    * * *

    NASA press releases and other information are available automatically
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