History in Flight23 Jun 2004
On June 21st, I witnessed a moment in history. In the Mojave Desert, space ceased to be a place restricted to superpowers. On this date Scaled Composites launched the first civilian spaceflight and made space just a little more accessable to everyone. I filmed the event and have the video available for download here.
The ‘launch system’ involves two aircraft. The first, White Knight, takes off from a conventional runway and climbs to 50,000 feet with it’s two jet engines over the period of an hour. It then drops the second aircraft, SpaceCraftOne from it’s belly. SpaceCraftOne then fires it’s hybrid rocket (it uses a solid fuel and liquid oxidizer; a system that is extremely pirotechnically stable and safe) and climbs straight up to 100 kilometers above the surface of the earth. On decent, the aft half of the wing folds vertically and the aircraft decends belly first until enough speed is bled off that the wing returns to it’s normal configuration and the craft glides to a landing on a conventional runway.
My video of this historic event is titled ‘History in Flight’ and documents the events of that early summer morning in the Mojave.
Download History in Flight (5meg)
Special note to webmasters, you may not link directly to this movie, however you may either mirror it locally and provide that as a link, or link to this page.