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  Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne claims X PRIZE (Page 3)

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Author Topic:   Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne claims X PRIZE
Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-01-2004 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
X Prize release
Second SpaceShipOne Launch is Go For October 4th

Burt Rutan's Mojave Aerospace Ventures Team successfully reached an altitude of 337,500 feet with Mike Melvill (the pilot) onboard plus ballast (approx. 180 Kg). This flight was deemed by the judges as a successful first flight for the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE.

The X PRIZE has just received official notice from Burt Rutan that SpaceShipOne's second flight (X2) will take place Monday morning, October 4th. Expected flight timeline:

  • Takeoff at 7am PT
  • Ignition at 8am PT
  • Landing at 8:30am PT
  • Press Conference to announce official Altitude at 10:30am PT
The entire flight and press conference can be viewed LIVE at xprize.org on our global webcast. Please spread the word to your friends. Tune in and help us celebrate the birth of the Personal Spaceflight Revolution.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-04-2004 09:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Brian Binnie will pilot SpaceShipOne for the X2 (X Prize Second Flight) launch. Mike Melvill will be at the controls on White Knight.

The Science Channel is broadcasting the flight this morning, as are space.com and xprize.org online. Take-off is planned for about a half hour from now, approx. at 10am ET with engine ignition on SS1 approx. at 11am. Rutan has said he hopes today's flight will top Joe Walker's X-15 flight - the highest reached by the space plane - and in doing so, will win the Ansari X Prize. A press conference at 1:30pm will confirm the altitude and if SS1 qualifies, Scaled will be awarded the check and trophy in early November at the St. Louis Science Center.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-04-2004 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If we try to draw comparisons with history, SpaceShipOne's test flight program has similarities with NASA's Mercury program. The June 21st first launch of SS1 with Mike Melvill at the controls could be compared with Alan Shepard's Freedom 7 mission, while today's prize-flight with Brian Binnie has the added media attention similar to what John Glenn experienced on Friendship 7.

Obviously, the SS1 flights won't receive the worldwide attention to the degree of either of the Mercury flights, but 50 years after May 1961, more people remember Glenn's flight then they do Shepard's. If we are to look 50 years hence, who will be celebrated as opening the next era of commercial space flight? Melvill piloting the first space launch of SS1 or Binnie piloting the (presumed and on-going) X Prize winning flight?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-04-2004 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From SPACE.com:
SpaceShipOne Wins $10 Million Ansari X Prize in Historic 2nd Trip to Space

From SpaceflightNow:
SpaceShipOne launches for X Prize

gliderpilotuk
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posted 10-04-2004 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
If we are to look 50 years hence, who will be celebrated as opening the next era of commercial space flight?
I think in this case the event will be remembered more for the achievements of the designer, Burt Rutan, as being the one who opened the door to the commercialisation of space - even if he was not the pilot/astronaut.

The Rutans are already household names and, shame to say, I suspect only a handful of enthusiasts will remember the names of Melvill and Binnie - mainly due to the poor media coverage. For me this is as much a case of corporate achievement for Scaled, as a triumph for either pilot.

DavidH
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posted 10-04-2004 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
If we are to look 50 years hence, who will be celebrated as opening the next era of commercial space flight?
This reminds me of a discussion I had recently about the historical relevance of Charles Lindbergh; regarding whether his importance was actually far greater in his own time than it will be in history, and to what extent he's still relevant to schoolkids today.

I think that will be an issue with these two flights as well.

I think today's flight carries more relevance for today's world. The X2 flight wins the X Prize, and opens a new era of private spaceflight. It will have a paradigm-shifting impact (particularly in the context of the Virgin Galactic announcement) of a sort that the winning of the Orteig prize did.

Someday, however, those changes will be taken for granted. People will forget what a world was like when you couldn't buy a ticket to space on a private spaceliner; or for that matter, when you couldn't buy a ticket to orbit.

When that day comes, the first flight will be remembered as the first flight.
So, for right now, X2 is the "important" flight, but S1 was the "historic" one.

FFrench
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posted 10-04-2004 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
If we are to look 50 years hence, who will be celebrated as opening the next era of commercial space flight?
Probably too early to say, and this is all opinion - but I am suspecting that this is a whole new ballgame, and that the process of the increasingly complex and ambitious test flights, rather than any single flight, will be what is remembered, and Rutan probably remembered far more than Melvill and Binnie.

If however one flight is remembered, I think it will be Melvill's first flight into space. The circumstances of the X-Prize itself will become less important over time compared to the fact of that first private spaceflight.

Aztecdoug
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posted 10-04-2004 12:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would venture to agree with the above opinions that the first flight is the flight to remember. People have to be reminded that Lindbergh was even seeking a prize.

Does anybody remember Louis Bleriot was seeking a prize too? Or even who Bleriot was? (First to fly across the English Channel July 25th, 1909, and won a 1000 pound prize offered by the London Daily Mail.)

While I agree Melvill's flight is the flight to remember, I suspect that Rutan's achievement will be one for the ages.

This year we all saw Rutan and Scaled, write another glorious chapter in the Golden Age of Test Flight!

DelD
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posted 10-04-2004 05:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DelD   Click Here to Email DelD     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First of all can I say that I have followed the X Prize since its inception, and have been ridiculed by friends and colleagues for telling them for years that we are about to see a privately build and funded craft go into space, and that I congratulate Scaled and all involved and I do not diminish their achievement.

However, I suspect that the event that really will be remembered in decades to come has not taken place yet. We can have all the lectures we want about how S1 or X1 and X2 have opened up a new door, into a world that has routine, relatively safe and affordable spaceflight, but nobody has actually flown yet! Melvill and Binnie, are professional test pilots, in a very specialist company,and in essence are not that different from the Mercury 7 or New Nine in so far as the opening up space to "normal" people goes. It is when they fly SpaceShipOne or whatever version follows with passengers onboard that should be the one to be really celebrated. I can understand why it was allowed in the rules, but I think a great opportunity has been missed today, there should have been passengers, normal passengers with no flight qualifications etc. That would have made it into the event it is supposed to be, but sadly is not.

Spacepsycho
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posted 10-05-2004 02:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just got home from a very long 24 hours at the SpaceShipOne launch on Monday morning. It was such a great event, all of the people there were so happy to be there watching history in the making and the entire event was great.

I drove three hours on Sunday afternoon to get my media pass, got the lay of the land and then staked out a killer spot as the first in line on the taxiway. A friend of mine got me a VIP pass, so I was able to attend the after flight party, the press conference after the flight and I had the opportunity to rub elbows with some incredible geniuses in the space field who are working on their own designs for private space flight.

The media and VIP areas were packed with people but I have no idea how many folks were in the general admission crowd. The group of people who organized this event were top notch, they were so nice to deal with and they really went out of their way to make sure you were taken care of.

XCOR, which is another company at Mojave, had a party on Sunday night, they displayed their alcohol rocket which they fired up three times during the party. These guys were scary smart, they designed this rocket motor, which had no moving parts, had no wear or breakdowns after 24 hours of run time at three minutes per run and these guys were stupendous in their efforts.

There was a small but good party Sunday night that was sponsored by Herbie Hancock, Gene Simmons and Quicy Jones were also in attendance. I met a few great people from this board, we went over to XCOR, which is working on their own X Prize project, for a very closeup look of their workshop. What struck me in talking to all of these incredible people who are facinated with private industry in space, was that they're all down to Earth, focused and driven people all reaching for the same goal, the little guy in space.

The next morning the facilities were packed as the excitement got higher. Brian Binnie was in SpaceShipOne with Mike Melvill flying the White Knight for the first time with SpaceShipOne underneath it. After wheels up, it took about an hour to get to altitude, there was all the action and replays of earlier flights on a large TV screen for all to see. During that hour wait, I had the opportunity to meet another hero of mine, Scott Crossfield, who was such a nice guy. We spoke for a few minutes, I was able to get a picture with him and he signed my VIP Badge which was just icing on the cake. I asked how he felt that SpaceShipOne was trying to break the X-15 altitude and he just smiled with a wink.

On the big screen it showed what most of you saw on TV live, but when you looked to the northeast at 45 degrees up, you saw the contrails separate and then Binnie lit the rocket which went as straight as it could. The speed at which SpaceShipOne climbed out was amazing, TV doesn't give you any idea just how fast it gets up and goes and the profile of the flight couldn't have been any better.

The crowd was going crazy clapping, whistling, yelling for Binnie as he climbed to shutoff, then screamed when he had shutdown and reached a new record surpassing the X-15 old record at 367,400 feet, which was confirmed by Edwards Air Force Base radar. The climb speed was 3.06 mach and the decent speed was 3.26 mach. It took about 10 to 15 minutes for SpaceShipOne to float back to earth, the large screen showed every detail of the flight from the onboard camera to the chase planes to the long range ground cameras. Then as the four aircraft came over the airport at 10,000 feet the excitement was building again. The touchdown was a giant release of people screaming and whooping, the realization that Burt Rutan and company had finally done what they set out for, was like a kid opening up his first bike on Christmas, then finding out it was a Harley.

After the landing, the chase planes did a flyby, then 10 to 15 minutes SpaceShipOne was towed in front of the VIP section where all the Scaled Composites employees, family memebers, friends and luminaries were waiting to greet Brian, with Burt Rutan, Richard Branson, Paul Allen and the Scaled Composites team were riding in the back of the truck towing SpaceShipOne. They all said their toasts, Richard Branson told the crowd about his $25 million order for Scaled Composites tourist spacecraft and the mood was like being on nitros oxide.

SpaceShipOne was then towed in front of the media stand where I was standing on the photographers platform with about 80 other TV and print photographers. We watched Burt, Richard, Paul, Brian, the Ansari family and others pop the corks on champagne, receive medals for their acheivements and speak glowingly about each other. Burt Rutan constantly struck me as being such an incredible man, he always gave credit to others for reaching this goal and he's such a down to earth guy that it's scary. Then the spacecraft was towed past the public viewing but it was too far down the flight line for me to see.

At 10:30 a.m. the press conference started, I wasn't going to attend but at the last minute I was admitted to sit on the floor with the other photographers when room was avail in front of the podium. It was surreal listening to all of the team give their opinions of the journey that got them to winning the X Prize. There were three questions from the reporters allowed for each speaker, there was a lot of love and respect in the room for all of the people on the podium by the press and it was being treated as the historic milestone it deserved. I sat right at the foot of Richard Branson, he was a very funny guy who was always making a joke when he was asked a question and it was nice to see that while he's worth a few billion dollars, he didn't act any different than any other guy who was in love with space travel.

Burt Rutan, with all of the Scaled Composites employees standing behind him, announced that he was sharing his portion of the X Prize money with his employees for all their hard work, which shows you what an incredible person he is. There were also medals handed out to Brian, Burt, Paul, Mike Melville and quite a few of Scaled Composites hard working employees and supporters for their tireless effort.

Being a few feet away from the podium, I think I got some incredible shots of all the speakers which included Rick Searfoss, who's a real class act, Mike Melvill with Brian Binnie, Burt, Paul and the Asani family. Mike Melvill was asked to say a few words which he did so well, Brian Binnie thanked God, his family and said that this could only happen in the greatest country in the world, the USA, which really touched everyone in the room with his genuine emotion.

After the event, most of the reporters left the room to file their story, the diehards who wanted to meet these amazing people walked up to the podium and were very respectful when asking for autographs. I was lucky to have my VIP pass signed by Binnie, Rick Searfoss, Mike Melvill, Burt, Richard Branson, Paul Allen, Ansari family, Scott Crossfield, Brian Feeney who's the pilot of the Da Vinci and others. I had a chance to speak to Paul Allen, I congratulated him for such a great effort and he was so genuinely nice during our conversation that I forgot just who he was. He was so excited, it was a real pleasure to see how these giants reacted to people who've been following their journey. Brian Feeney was also great to speak to, said his team was devoted to launching during later in October but wouldn't give a date.

To wrap up this long post, I was so taken by the fact that everyone at Mojave was so down to earth, so driven by the goal of being the first spaceport for the private sector and now their vision for the future of space has been laid out at the public's and business's feet to see just what can be done on a shoestring budget. I consider this event as important as Alan Shepard's 1961 flight in the stepping stone of history and I have a new admiration and appreciation for the people who are putting their heart, soul and money where their mouth is. It was truly a once in a lifetime event and I'll be sharing the photos in a day or two after I get them processed.

What a great day for the average guy who dreamed about being able to go into space, if only for a few minutes. Maybe all those Popular Mechanics articles I read in the 60's growing up of everyone being able to go into space, will finally come true.

Gilbert
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posted 10-05-2004 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ray, great post, much better than anything I read from the media sources.

FFrench
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posted 10-05-2004 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for that post, it was very interesting to read your account.

Spacepsycho
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posted 10-09-2004 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceShipOne at 10,000 feet:

SpaceShipOne landing with Brian Binnie after winning the X Prize:

AAA Towing Service:

Chase planes:

Spacepsycho
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posted 10-09-2004 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Brian Binnie

Popping corks

Brian Binnie and Mike Melvill

This will be the first jet aircraft to fly around the world non-stop. It's expected to take approx 80 hours, there is only a single pilot onboard and it will fly at 45,000 to 50,000 feet. The flight will take place from January to April depending on how testing proceeds.

Spacepsycho
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posted 10-09-2004 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

nojnj
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posted 10-09-2004 11:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great story! Thanks for sharing the photos also!

Philip
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posted 10-09-2004 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Superb event and a great account! (Never noticed the French-made Alpha Jet fighter as a chase plane.)

Aztecdoug
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posted 10-22-2004 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I watched a special last week on TV about the whole project. It was three hours in total. The interesting point made was that Pete Siebold was originally scheduled to fly X1. He became ill a week or two before though and they asked Mike to fly again.

I also located this great page at Scaled. This page outlines all the flight details during the tests. It also answered my question of who flew White Knight on X1. It was Binnie.

John Charles
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posted 11-19-2004 09:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Charles     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Besides Scott Horowitz in June and Kick Patrick in September, were any other current NASA astronauts in attendance at any other SS1 flights?

machbusterman
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posted 11-20-2004 01:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for machbusterman   Click Here to Email machbusterman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rick Searfoss was in attendance for flight X2.

FFrench
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posted 11-20-2004 11:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nick Patrick was at the first X-Prize launch (the only current one I spotted), as well as former astronaut Bill Readdy. Searfoss was there but behind the scenes as a judge. Aldrin was there too for the first SS1 spaceflight.

spaceuk
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posted 03-05-2005 09:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a very good article on the operation of SpaceShipOne by Matthew Gionta, chief engineer of the company that built it -- Scaled Composites.

Hawkman
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posted 03-05-2005 01:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkman   Click Here to Email Hawkman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
VERY cool and very interesting!! Thanks!

Gordon Reade
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posted 06-17-2005 02:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just had lunch with an old friend and I complemented him on his new car. It was nothing special but I wanted to be nice. He replied, "Thanks and did you notice, I have SpaceshipOne on the license."

I looked at the license plate expecting to see something space related on the frame but there was nothing there. Then I realized he had Califorina license plate number N328KF. 328,000 feet. It was SpaceshipOne's N number. Now that was special. A space collector's item licence plate!

Groucho
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posted 07-08-2005 07:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Groucho   Click Here to Email Groucho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh...he's the one who took it!!!

thump
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posted 07-25-2005 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for thump   Click Here to Email thump     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceShipOne is scheduled to depart Wright-Patterson at 9 a.m. on Aug. 1 for its journey to Dulles International Airport and the National Air and Space Museum. If you happen to be in the area, you may want to keep your eyes to the skies then!

spaceuk
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posted 07-25-2006 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A SpaceShipOne full size replica is being unveiled at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The replica — on display at EAA Museum — is made from the same moulds and moves its wings to the shuttlecock position.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-25-2006 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
More information can be found on Alan Boyle's MSNBC Cosmic Log:
If you're a fan of SpaceShipOne, the world's first privately developed manned spacecraft, it's pretty hard to beat last year's act at the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wis., when the historic rocket plane was flown in for an appearance on the way to the Smithsonian. But today, AirVenture is unveiling a replica in its Oshkosh museum that can do something the original is no longer able to accomplish.
And here is the article from the EAA Oshkosh daily newspaper:
SpaceShipOne was a favorite of aviation enthusiasts at last year's fly-in convention — they got to see the world's first successful civilian-built spacecraft, winner of the $10 million Ansari X Prize up-close and watch it fly.

While the original is now hanging in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., its sibling, SpaceShipOne, S/N #2, is in the EAA AirVenture Museum and will be officially dedicated at 9 a.m. Tuesday. It's likely to be a favorite, too.

"Since 1962, EAA has had a museum and we've grown to be one of the more wonderful aviation museums in the nation," said Adam Smith, museum director. But the SpaceShipOne exhibit will put the museum into new and uncharted territory.

"SpaceShipOne is meaningful to the whole museum," Smith said. "On Tuesday we will become an air and space museum, something we've never been before. And it's all because an EAA member had a vision..."

Rusty B
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posted 04-07-2007 09:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty B   Click Here to Email Rusty B     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rutan granted patent for SpaceShipOne.

On March 27, 2007, Burt Rutan and Mojave Aerospace Ventures were granted U.S. patent 7,195,207 for SpaceShipOne.


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