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SpaceShipOne Flight 15P
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Flight 15P of SpaceShipOne (X0) was the first privately funded human spaceflight. It took place on June 21, 2004. It was the fourth powered test flight of the Tier One program, the previous three test flights having reached much lower altitudes. The flight carried only its pilot, Mike Melvill, who thus became the first non-governmental astronaut.
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The Ansari X Prize
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The Ansari X Prize was won on October 4, 2004, the 47th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch, by the Tier One project designed by Burt Rutan and financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, using the experimental spaceplane SpaceShipOne.
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SpaceShipOne Flight 16P
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Flight 16P of SpaceShipOne was a spaceflight in the Tier One program that took place on September 29, 2004. It was the first competitive flight in the Ansari X PRIZE competition to demonstrate a non-governmental reusable manned spacecraft, and is hence also referred to as the X1 flight.
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SpaceShipOne Flight 11P
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Flight 11P of SpaceShipOne was its eighth independent flight, its first powered flight, and the first privately-funded manned flight to reach supersonic speeds. It occurred on December 17, 2003.
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RE: The White Knight
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SpaceShipOne is a spaceplane that completed the first privately funded spaceflight on June 21, 2004.
(L to R) Marion Blakely (FAA), Mike Melvill; Richard Branson, Burt Rutan, Brian Binnie, and Paul Allen reflect on a mission accomplished (October 4, 2004)
SpaceShipOne was developed by Mojave Aerospace Ventures (a joint venture between Paul Allen and Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan's aviation company, in their Tier One program), without government funding.


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White Knight 2
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SpaceShipOne
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This shows the SpaceShipOne flight in orbiter, taking off under the white knight, climbing to 50,000ft, then going to 343,000ft and then gliding home.




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RE: The White Knight
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The X-37 - an unpiloted, reusable space plane made its first captive-carry flight today under the wings of the White Knight, flying above Mojave, California desert.
The Boeing, Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA-supported vehicle had undergone a systematic step-by-step pre-flight checkout.


Credit: Alan Radecki

At the Mojave, California Spaceport Scaled Composites White Knight carrier plane had previously taken the X-37 for repeated runs down the runway all in preparation for today's lift-off and return landing of the twosome.

Tagged by DARPA as an Approach and Landing Test Vehicle (ALTV), the X-37 will undergo captive carry flights, followed by high-altitude drop tests through the summer, according to DARPA spokesperson, Jan Walker.

The X-37 project is exploring commercial and military reusable space vehicle market applications, be they on-orbit satellite repair to the next-generation of totally reusable launch vehicles.
Today's flight of the White Knight/X-37 took place early this morning. It was one year ago to the day that the White Knight released Spaceship One for its first suborbital run, piloted by Mike Melville.

Designed by Scaled Composites, the multi-purpose White Knight was used to haul that firm's Spaceship One to altitude for release.
The rocket plane made a series of piloted suborbital flights last year, winning the Ansari X Prize of $10 million for back-to-back suborbital flights.
No official word as yet on when the first drop of the X-37 from the White Knight is slated.


Credit: Alan Radecki


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The White Knight has a new mission.
The White Knight mothership has been fitted up with the X-37, an unpiloted, reusable space plane.
At its inland spaceport in Mojave, California, the plane has undergone a set of recent ground evaluations, including high-speed taxi tests.



Designed by Scaled Composites, the White Knight carried SpaceShipOne to a launch altitude of 15km, and then released the piloted rocket plane for its record-setting suborbital treks, including the snagging of the high-stakes $10 million Ansari X Prize last year.

Eventually, the X-37 would operate at speeds of up to 25 times the speed of sound. It could be carried into orbit by an expendable launch vehicle, and orbit for up to 21 days and land on a conventional runway.


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