SPACE HISTORY: 15 Years Ago First Privately Funded Spaceflight Soared Into Space

By  //  June 22, 2019

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The prize winning flights came in September and October of 2004

Fifteen years ago, privately funded spaceflight made its first entry in the history books. SpaceShipOne soared into space during a test flight on June 21, 2004, and became the first privately funded human spaceflight. (NASA image)

(NASA) – Fifteen years ago, privately funded spaceflight made its first entry in the history books. SpaceShipOne soared into space during a test flight on June 21, 2004, and became the first privately funded human spaceflight.

At 100 kilometers, it crossed the altitude widely accepted as the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.

Designed by Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites, LLC and funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, SpaceShipOne was created to win the $10 million Ansari XPRIZEfor private spaceflight.

To win the prize, competitors had to fly a reusable human spaceflight into space twice within two weeks.

Designed by Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites, LLC and funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, SpaceShipOne was created to win the $10 million Ansari XPRIZEfor private spaceflight. (NASA image)

The prize-winning flights came in September and October of 2004. This was the first test flight to cross the 100-kilometer altitude mark.

SpaceShipOne achieved a number of firsts in only a few flights. It was the first privately funded aircraft to exceed Mach 2 and Mach 3, to reach 100km altitude, and have the ability to be re-used.

The spacecraft is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution in the Milestones of Flight Gallery.

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