Feeds

SpaceShipOne triumphs

Space tourism, here we come?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

SpaceShipOne yesterday became the first privately-built and manned vehicle to reach the lower limits of space.

The craft - the brainchild of aviation pioneer Burt Rutan and funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen - carried pilot Mike Melvill beyond the 100km (62 mile) official boundary and returned safely to its base at California's Mojave airport.

SpaceShipOne completed the first 14km (46,000ft) strapped to its White Knight launcher, after which it went solo with an 80-second rocket motor burn. The entire mission lasted 90 minutes.

Melvill's euphoria upon landing was evident. He had undergone a period of weightlessness during which - he told the assembled press and public - he had released a packet of M&M chocolate sweets into the cabin. TV news footage showed Paul Allen looking slightly less than impressed with this admission.

Nevertheless, the flight is a triumph for Rutan and Melvill's Scaled Composites, the firm behind the design. Although Rutan acknowledged one or two glitches during the flight - including buckling of part of the vehicle's structure covering the rocket nozzle and a missed re-entry point - he said that the team would now consider whether to go for the Ansari X-Prize.

To claim the booty for the first private space flight, SpaceShipOne must reach 100km twice in two weeks. The prize was conceived to kick-start private space initiatives and space tourism in particular.

And as for Mike Melvill, he described the experience as "mind-blowing... Absolutely an awesome thing." He rather sensibly added that he would "back off a little bit now and ride my bike". ®

Related sites

Scaled Composites
Ansari X-Prize

Related stories

SpaceShipOne ready for go
SpaceShipOne readied for 21 June launch
US edges closer to private space flight
FAA greenlights private spaceship

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.