Wednesday, December 21, 2005

SpaceShipOne Goes to Pluto

Famed aeronautical engineer Burt Rutan let slip a secret about the New Horizons Spacecraft headed to Pluto: It's carrying a piece of SpaceShipOne with it.
Granted it's not a very big piece, most likely a small chunk of carbon fiber, but symbolically, it's quite an honor. The actual SpaceShipOne is hanging in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on public display in Washington D.C.
SpaceShipOne is the first privately built sub-orbital craft, flew the first privately funded human spaceflight and was the winner of the 2004 $10 million X-Prize.
It is also the inspiration for SpaceShipTwo, a 20-passenger craft based on SSO design specifications, the first five of which will become the initial fleet for Virgin Galactic, expected to begin daily sub-orbital space flights in late 2008 or early 2009.

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