First Private Manned Mission to Space

The world witnessed the dawn of a new space age today, as investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Scaled Composites launched the first private manned vehicle beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. The successful launch demonstrated that the final frontier is now open to private enterprise.
Under the command of test pilot Mike Melvill, SpaceShipOne reached a record breaking altitude of 328,491 feet (approximately 62 miles or 100 km), making Melvill the first civilian to fly a spaceship out of the atmosphere and the first private pilot to earn astronaut wings.

From Scaled Composites:

SpaceShipOne Makes History: First Private Manned Mission to Space


The world witnessed the dawn of a new space age today, as investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Scaled Composites launched the first private manned vehicle beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. The successful launch demonstrated that the final frontier is now open to private enterprise.

Under the command of test pilot Mike Melvill, SpaceShipOne reached a record breaking altitude of 328,491 feet (approximately 62 miles or 100 km), making Melvill the first civilian to fly a spaceship out of the atmosphere and the first private pilot to earn astronaut wings.

This flight begins an exciting new era in space travel,” said Paul G. Allen, sole sponsor in the SpaceShipOne program. ”Burt Rutan and his team at Scaled Composites are part of a new generation of explorers who are sparking the imagination of a huge number of people worldwide and ushering in the birth of a new industry of privately funded manned space flight.”

The historic flight also marks the first time an aerospace program has successfully completed a manned mission without government sponsorship. ”Today’s flight marks a critical turning point in the history of aerospace,” said Scaled Composites founder and CEO Burt Rutan. ” We have redefined space travel as we know it.”

”Our success proves without question that manned space flight does not require mammoth government expenditures,” Rutan declared. ”It can be done by a small company operating with limited resources and a few dozen dedicated employees.”

A large crowd watched the momentous flight live from the grounds of the Mojave Airport, joining millions of others around the world who tuned in by television, radio, and the internet. Dignitaries attending the event included U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher, the Commanding Officer of Edwards Air Force Base, General Pearson and the China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center, Admiral Venlet; former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and Konrad Dannenberg, one of Werner Von Braun’s lead scientists on this country’s original space development effort. Hundreds of media representatives were also on hand to record history in the making.


The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Have a question? Let us know.

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1 thought on “First Private Manned Mission to Space”

  1. Your average-Joe rocket scientist might simply shake his head at the mere notion that extra-terrestrial beings have been visiting Earth.

    While the scientific community guardedly approaches what would inarguably be the greatest discovery in human history, the thought that aliens have visited – and are visiting – this planet of ours is something to be scoffed at by the educated scientist. That is, while NASA’s entire budget might be classified as a fund that aims to discover just that – there is life beyond our planet.

    In the 21st century, space programs admittedly declare that discovering some form of life – on, say, a moon of Saturn, or one of Jupiter’s many satellites – is the chief driving force in spending millions and even billions of dollars in venture. If we hypothetically subtract the assignment to discover life outside our home from the NASA mission, the entire organization would shrink in its form (and largely, its budgets) considerably.

    Yet…to state that this life we seek so feverishly has…well, that it already has evolved? Ahead of the human race? And that it already has thought to do the same as we have set out to achieve? And that some form of life out there has been developed to such a stage in its own existence in that it has managed to place rivets into metal containers, creating spacecrafts capable of interstellar travel?

    Preposterous.

    There are many branches of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). However, the overall mission statement for NASA declares the administration strives to “understand and protect our home planet, to explore the universe and search for life, and to inspire the next generation of explorers…as only NASA can”. The extra-planetary rovers of the program, assigned such names as “Spirit” and “Opportunity”, have been set out to discover if Mars ever hosted life. Space awards have been bestowed upon the craft called “Cassini”, which offered a piggy-back ride for the Huygens probe. The mission of the probe? Discover if the conditions for any form of life might exist on one of the promising moons of Saturn.

    As a human race, we forge ahead into space, first exhausting the grounds of our own solar system, scouring for any sign of this thing we recognize as “life”. We are represented by the scientists of our population, who lead us toward prospective, neighboring worlds, probing and scanning, poking and prodding – all in respect to one very exciting ideal: We are not alone.

    Many missions of NASA are prompted by that very conception.

    In 2006, Atlas V will launch a piano-sized space probe called “New Horizons” that will span the solar system in record time. Its mission: To visit the outer planet of Pluto (and its moon, Charon), to “unlock one of the solar system’s last, great planetary secrets”. In November 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, equipped with the highest resolution camera to-date, is expected to reveal past water beds of the red planet, Mars. “Stardust” is a spacecraft that was programmed to take a 1.5 billion mile round trip course – all to collect some tailings of a comet (weighing less than a pound) and bring the stuff back to Earth. The analysis of those specs of dust is aimed to validate that comets contain building blocks of life, labeled CHON. The idea is that these icy-fiery objects make special deliveries of life-giving chemicals to prospective planets as they perform their fly-bys through solar systems like ours.

    These days, high-tech telescopes are being built to act as peepholes into the universe. The Spitzer Space Telescope possesses and uses state-of-the-art infrared detectors to pierce the dense clouds of gas and dust that enshroud many celestial objects, including distant galaxies; clusters of stars in formation; and planet forming discs surrounding stars. It is the fourth of NASA’s Great Observatories, a program that also includes the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. This super-science telescope, as with many devices of the modern day, embarks upon the mission to reveal unknown objects in the distant skies, as well as reveal more about what things we know little of.

    The scientific community postures that if we discover life has formed on one of the planets that share the resources of our own star, it is not only likely that life is abundant beyond the proximity of the sun, but, moreover, that likelihood is mathematically profound. To venture beyond that math is to calculate that we – the humble human race – are certainly not the first to have taken in life-giving breath. Nor are we the first to have the hair-brained idea that we might not be alone in this 10-billion year old universe.

    Hence, the voice of science itself should be the first to scream out the possibility that our elusive alien guests have been discovering the likes of us.

    Average-Joe rocket scientist fails to position himself well if so much of the costly missions of NASA purport that life is out there to be discovered…but – still, relentlessly – shakes his head at the simple view that he is indeed correct.

    A science exists here on Earth, one untouched by scientists. It supports the cause and aim of NASA that “life is out there”. That science – conveniently located in our own atmosphere – is the evidence that we have been visited. The community that very well should be responsible for putting together this evidence is even fortunate enough in that so much of it already has been documented, logged, discussed and recorded.

    Build those spacecrafts. Enhance the resolution of our telescopes. Send probes to places we are all excited to see. Why not?

    But – hey there, Joe. While you’re at it…do as any formally educated weatherman does.

    Look up.

    Joseph Dougherty
    Los Angeles, California
    DocORock@comcast.net
    http://www.cruelandwonderfulworld.blogspot.com

    Reply

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