How cool is this??
A privately funded rocket plane called SpaceShipOne yesterday broke the sound barrier over California’s Mojave Desert, achieving what its developer called the first supersonic flight achieved by a nongovernmental effort.
A homebuilt supersonic rocket. (Admittedly, it’s hard to call anything built by genius Burt Rutan ‘homebuilt,’ but still – I wonder how the level of effort compared with that in building the X-1?)
Update: Commenter Frank Martin provides a link to some pictures and first-hand commentary! Thanks, Frank…]
* April 19/03: Private Manned Spaceplane Unveiled as the craft makes its first test flight.
* Dec 18/03: SpaceShipOne breaks Mach One in a test flight.
* Juune 8/04: The system prepares for its first space flight. Go, SpaceShipOne, Go!
* June 21/04: First full flight successful!
* Sept 29/04: SpaceShipOne makes its first official X-Prize flight, and succeeds. That flight had some scary moments, though.
* Oct 5/04: Mission Accomplished! SpaceshipOne wins the X-Prize, and breaks the X-15’s manned altitude record for an aircraft.