A privately-built manned spacecraft has reached a record altitude of 212,000 feet over California on one of its final tests before officially entering space.
The craft, called SpaceShipOne, was built by aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan, who hopes to win the Ansari X-Prize of $10 million for the first private flight into space.
To win the X-Prize, the craft has to reach an altitude of 329,000 feet twice within three weeks. Twenty-five other teams across the world are competing for the prize.
Flying over the Mojave Desert, SpaceShipOne and its carrier aircraft White Knight moved a step closer to claiming the prize when pilot Mike Melvill took the vehicle closer to space than any non-governmental craft has been -- an altitude of 212,000 feet.
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SpaceShipOne Rockets To Mach 1.2
Mojave - Dec 17, 2003
To mark the 100th year of powered flight X Prize entrant Scaled Composites used the occassion to fire up the company's experimental rocket SpaceShipOne and accelerate to Mach 1.2 (930 MPH) in a fully powered climb.
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