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On June 2, 2004, Scaled Composites invited
the public to view the first space launch attempt of their SpaceShipOne
on June 21.
This page is where we'll post pictures that were taken by
members who attended the event.
We are all aviation and space enthusiasts - and we were the tracking
team who recovered the rocket from the
first unmanned private launch to space
only 5 weeks earlier on May 17.
(We also performed communications and search support
for another group's unmanned space launch attempt on June 7.)
So this was a big interest of ours to see this succeed.
We felt it was a privilege to witness history again.
Though we'd have liked to, Stratofox had no role in Scaled Composites'
flight, except as cheering members of the public audience and
posting our pictures to help record its place in history.
Our group was split in two sections. Some were able to watch from XCOR Aerospace's guest viewing area near the center of the airport, and adjacent to the VIP/press area. (Initially some of us thought they were in the VIP area.) While others who couldn't arrange that watched from the general public viewing area at the end of Runway 30. Both turned out to have different advantages as viewing locations. And pictures from the two points of view complemented each other well.
As the world's media have already reported, SpaceShipOne's flight was a success in making the world's first manned space launch without government funding. And in the process, 63-year old pilot Mike Melvill earned the first set of civilian astronaut wings awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration. Some biographical info: Melvill was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He came to America in 1967 and became a US citizen 3 years later. He is Vice President and General Manager of Scaled Composites.
Though at 328,491 feet, this flight just barely made it to the international boundary of space (100km or 328,084 feet) by a margin of only three times the distance of the Wright Brothers' first flight. This was lower than intended for the flight because the motor cut off early. We're all glad it still qualified for the history-making first private manned space flight anyway.
Congratulations to Scaled Composites on its successful space flight! And congratulations to the Mojave Airport for receiving its FAA spaceport license, making it America's first inland spaceport.
It was a privilege to be present at what many called America's return to space.
|Arrival at Mojave on Sunday||23||17||6|
|Dawn on Monday||25||20||5|
|Taxi and Takeoff||30||26||4|
|Climbing, climbing, climbing...||30||24||6|
|Launch of SpaceShipOne||20||20|
|The Return of SpaceShipOne||20||17||3|
|SpaceShipOne lands safely||24||21||3|
|Chase Planes make photo passes and land||32||23||9|
|SpaceShipOne is shown to the crowd||19||19|
|After the flight||17||17|
|Sean Lynch's pictures are posted at his web site|
This is a video from the public viewing area.
For those who wanted to attend but couldn't,
it gives you an impression what it was like to be there.
And it's more than you've seen in the media.
Web text copyright 2004 by Stratofox, a Special Interest Group of the South Bay Community Network, Silicon Valley, California
All pictures copyright 2004 by their photographers.
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