Feeds

SpaceShipOne claims X-Prize

Triumph for private space vehicle

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne appears to have today claimed the $10m Ansari X-Prize as the first private space vehicle to successfully make two trips to above 100km within a two-week window. The triumph came on the anniversary of the 1957 launch of Sputnik - the first man-made object to leave Earth's atmosphere.

The craft was manned by test pilot Brian Binnie, rather than Mike Melvill who took SpaceShipOne to 102.8km last Wednesday.

SpaceShipOne is the brainchild of aviation pioneer Burt Rutan and was constructed by the Paul Allen-funded Scaled Composites. It has a rocket motor which propels the vehicle vertically upwards after release from its White Knight mothership at around 14km. After skirting the edge of space, it simply "shuttlecocks" back through the upper atmosphere - a technique designed to reduce the craft's velocity and thereby remove the need for substantial heat sheilding - until it reaches an altitude at which the conventional controls become effective. SpaceShipOne then glides back to base.

SpaceShipOne first flew to 64km on 13 June. On 29 September it made the first of its two X-Prize flights, exceeding 100km despite suffering serious roll during its vertical ascent. Today's flight appears to have passed without incident. Although some slight roll could be observed during the boost phase of the mission, it seems that Binnie managed to bring this under control before he got the "tumble dryer" treatment. The as-yet-unconfirmed figures say that the second flight reached 114.64km.

The news of SpaceShipOne's success will be welcomed by all those would-be astronauts prepared to shell out substantial sums for the trip of a lifetime. British entrepreneur Richard Branson recently announced he would buy five scaled-up versions of SpaceShipOne to offer mere mortals a quick jaunt to the edge of space for £100,000. ®

Related stories

SpaceShipOne goes for X-Prize glory
SpaceShipOne bids for X-Prize
Virgin to offer space flights
Rutan bagsies 'shotgun' in SpaceShipOne
X-prize race hots up
SpaceShipOne triumphs
SpaceShipOne ready for go
US edges closer to private space flight
FAA greenlights private spaceship

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.