Strapping rockets to dreams: The significance of SpaceShipOne
October 4th, 2004. A historic event is taking place at Mojave Airport, a sprawling civilian test center in the California high desert 150 kilometers from Los Angeles, where hundreds of rusting aircraft, their engines and undercarriages shrink-wrapped, sit parked in long, lonely rows. But on this Monday morning the motley collection of DC10s, 747s, DC9s, and 737s, representing airlines from around the world, will bear witness to a truly extraordinary event. Here, at this desolate airport, a small, winged spacecraft built with lightweight composites and powered by a rocket motor using laughing gas and rubber will fly to the edge of space and into the history books. Registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) only by the anonymous designation N328KF1,1 but known to space enthusiasts as Space Ship One (SSI) and its carrier vehicle, White Knight, this privately developed manned vehicle (Figure 1.1) will finally open the door for a much greater portion of humanity waiting to cross the threshold into space.
KeywordsSpace Shuttle Rocket Motor Ticket Price Federal Aviation Administration Sonic Boom
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