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What Is the Big Deal About Spaceshipone?

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What Is The Big Deal About SpaceshipOne?

SpaceShipone is a suborbital air-launched spaceplane that completed the first manned private spaceflight in 2004. It was designed by a joint venture between Paul Allen and Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan's aviation company, in their Tier One program, without government funding. This was the first space worthy craft made with no government assistance.

This craft does not take off by itself, it is is pulled to 14000 feet by the White Knight the dropped like a bomb, then the rocket's engines start up burning a mixture of rubber and laughing gas, or nitrous oxide. It climbs to the edge of the atmosphere then descends to Earth, the landing configuration is interesting in that it only has two wheels in the back and a skid in the front, it is much like a home build in this sense. Its flight pattern is just as interesting, after it is dropped from the White Knight it shoots to 360’000 feet then it folds its wings up and becomes glider as it returns to land it completes three circles. The power that this craft provides is amazing compared to the ship's size. “SpaceShipOne was 28 feet (8.5 meters) long. The cigar-shaped fuselage was about 5 feet (1.5 meters) in diameter, and could carry a pilot and up to two passengers. The plane had short, wide wings with a 16-foot (5 m) span. Large vertical tail booms were mounted on the end of each wing.” (Sharp, "SpaceShipOne: The First Private Spacecraft | The Most Amazing Flying Machines Ever |").

In my opinion, the creation of this amazing flying machine has come extremely close to human migration into space. This invention has come so quickly, to think it has been just over 100 years since man vegane flight. I am amazed by the past and hopeful for the future of flight.


Handwerk, B. (2010, October 28). SpaceShipOne Burns Rubber, Laughing Gas More Fun Facts. Retrieved September 12, 2015.

Sharp, T. (2014, October 2). SpaceShipOne: The First Private Spacecraft | The Most Amazing Flying Machines Ever | Retrieved September 12, 2015.



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