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Full Coverage: SpaceShipOne rocket sale

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Astronaut's son buys Lindbergh rocket

December 13, 2004

— A small bronze model rocket that was sculpted by Charles Lindbergh's grandson and was flown to space on-board the first private spacecraft, was sold on eBay today to the son of a Skylab astronaut.

Richard Garriott, whose father Owen lived on-board the United States' first space station and who later flew on the sixth flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia, won Erik Lindbergh's "Retro Bronze Mini Rocket" for a winning bid of $15,450. The "Retro Rocket" was one of six flown to space aboard SpaceShipOne on its $10 million X PRIZE winning flight on October 4, 2004.

"Second only to my business of writing computer games, space is my largest 'investment'," explained Garriott, who in 1980 created the hugely popular Ultima series of role-playing online games.

"This fine piece of art, combined with the story of the X Prize, Erik's family history and most especially the [SS1] flight, made this a must have for me!" wrote Garriott in a e-mail to collectSPACE.

"I am extremely pleased at the 'Meteoric' interest in the Retro Mini Rocket auction on eBay," said Erik Lindbergh of his sculpture's sale. "It is extraordinary for me to have been a part of a small, dedicated group of individuals at the X PRIZE Foundation that has managed to re-awaken the public about the possibilities of spaceflight."

"In a time of reduced donations to the [Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh] foundation, it is especially heartening to see such an incredible fundraising success with this auction," said Lindbergh, who serves as Vice Chairman of the Foundation.

"The funds received from this auction will benefit the Lindbergh Foundation and it's programs that are designed to inspire and encourage individuals to improve the quality of life through a balance between technology and the environment," said Foundation President Marlene K. White. "We are grateful to Erik Lindbergh for his personal support of our organization."

Bidding for the Retro Rocket sculpture began ten days ago with an opening bid of $2,500. A framed certificate of authenticity signed by Burt Rutan and pilots Mike Melvill, Brian Binnie and Doug Shane was included with the lot.

Garriott will need to wait until February 2005 to take possession of his rocket. Through January 31, 2005, the sculpture will be on display at the Seattle Museum of Flight in Washington as part of a special exhibit, Rustic Rocket Science - The Sculptures of Erik R. Lindbergh.

Bidding opens for Retro Rocket on eBay

December 3, 2004

— Bidding has opened on for one of six "Retro Bronze Mini Rockets" flown aboard SpaceShipOne. Within the first few hours of the 10 day auction two bids were already received, raising the $2500 minimum by $50.

To bid or watch the auction's progress, click here.

SpaceShip-flown rocket to be auctioned

One of six Retro Bronze Mini Rocket models that was flown on board SpaceShipOne on its X Prize winning flight. The sculpture was designed by Erik Lindbergh and will be auctioned beginning Dec. 3, 2004, to benefit his grandparent's foundation. (Lindbergh)

December 2, 2004

— A small, bronze, Flash Gordon-style rocket sculpture that flew to space earlier this year will be auctioned online beginning tomorrow to benefit an aviation pioneer's foundation.

The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation announced that a "Retro Bronze Mini Rocket" designed and created by Erik Lindbergh, grandson of the aviator, will be auctioned on beginning on December 3, 2004. The "Retro Rocket" flew on-board SpaceShipOne earlier this year, on the winning flight of the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE competition. Six similar statues were flown, though only this one will be available to the public.

"This rocket is very much inspired by the adventures of Flash Gordon, although Flash and Buck Rogers haven't been in my life for a couple of decades," described artist Erik Lindbergh in an interview with collectSPACE. "I think they are indelibly etched into my psyche."

"It is that 1950's romantic idea of spaceflight (absent the modern complications) that I wanted to capture," said Lindbergh, who has served on the Foundation's Board of Directors since 1998 and is currently their vice chairman.

The rocket sculpture, which is serial number 2, measures 1.5 by 1.5 by 4.5 inches and is accompanied by a secure frame shadow box for display. It is dated and initialed by Lindbergh.

A framed certificate of authenticity signed by Burt Rutan, who designed SpaceShipOne and pilots Mike Melvill, Brian Binnie and Doug Shane is included with the rocket. The stationery used for the certificate was also flown into space aboard SpaceShipOne's October 4, 2004, flight.

The eBay auction will begin tomorrow morning with an opening bid of $2,500. The leading bidder 10 days later will be awarded the flown sculpture, though will need to wait until February 2005 to take possession of the rocket.

On Saturday, December 4, the statue will be placed on display at the Seattle Museum of Flight in Washington as part of a special exhibit entitled Rustic Rocket Science - The Sculptures of Erik R. Lindbergh. The gallery, which also includes examples of Lindbergh's sculptural style of furniture-making, will close on Monday, January 31, 2005.

To bid on the Retro Rocket, point your web browser to or search for the keywords "Retro Rocket" on beginning on Friday.

"I hope [the rocket sculpture] is captured by someone who is passionate about exploring space and expanding the human potential," said Lindbergh.

All proceeds with benefit the Lindbergh Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, based in Minnesota, which strives to encourage and inspire present and future generations to work toward improving the quality of life through a balance between technological advancements and environmental preservation.

The X Prize, which inspired and was ultimately won by Mojave Aerospace Ventures' SpaceShipOne, was based in part on the $25,000 Raymond Orteig prize awarded to Charles A. Lindbergh for his trans-Atlantic non-stop flight. On October 4, 2004, Brian Binnie piloted SpaceShipOne to an altitude of 67 miles, marking the second successful spaceflight for the vehicle in as many weeks. Developed entirely from private funds, SpaceShipOne was recently named TIME Magazine's Invention of the Year for 2004.

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