Today the privately funded rocket plane SpaceShipOne flew to outer space and into history books as the world's first commercial manned space flight.
The white rocket plane was released from a larger plane called the White Knight and ignited its rocket engine to enter space and reach an altitude of 328,491 feet, or 62.2 miles above the earth.
Pilot Michael Melvill, 63, landed SpaceShipOne back at a runway in the Mojave Desert in California, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.
The plane with its striking nose -- a pointed cone covered with small portholes -- was designed by legendary aerospace designer Burt Rutan.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the project's financial backer, is expected to vie for the Ansari X prize later this summer. The X Prize awards $10m to the first private venture that can take three people to sub-orbital space and back again. The catch is that the winner must do this twice within a fortnight, using the same spaceplane.
Read the Reuters Article:
Top News Article | Reuters.com
Read the AP article:
Plane Soars Out of Earth's Atmosphere
Read the CNN article:
Private craft soars into space, history