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Scaled Aims For Late September X Prize Flights

Los Angeles - Jul 09, 2004
During an interview on US news network MSNBC this week, SpaceShipOne pilot Mike Melvill told Deborah Norville that Scaled Composites is planning to shortly give the required 60 days notice that it will fly back to back X Prize qualified flights in an attempt to win the $10 million X Prize.

We plan on trying toward the end of September this year, said Melvill. I'm hoping to encourage another individual to do it, but I'll be standing by in case they need me, he told MSNBC viewers.

According to the rules governing the X Prize teams must provide a 60-day advance notice of any qualifying flights.

Previously Scaled officials have said they could perform three test flights within the two-week period, so that they can still win the prize should the first or second flight fail to qualify.

In the MSNBC interview Melvill said that a banging noise he heard during the flight was caused when a chunk of solid fuel jammed the rocket nozzle for a split-second before the pressure built up and expelled the chunk.

"It was something weird we hadn't seen happen with that rocket motor," he said.

SpaceShipOne, built by Scaled Composites in conjunction with Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, was the first non-governmental flight on June 21, 2004, to leave the Earth's atmosphere. The aircraft reached a record-breaking altitude of 328,491 feet (approximately 62 miles or 100 km) over the Mojave desert in California.

Related Links
Scaled Composites
X Prize
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It Was Our Day
Mojave CA (SPX) Jun 22, 2004
Monday's launch of SpaceShipOne was more than a day like Kitty Hawk, when history was made on a deserted hilltop, more than a day like Alan Shepard's flight, when a nation watched its government's belated entry into a great-power race. It was a day that dreamers made, and shared, a day when eternal dreams of going out into the black came so much closer to coming true, writes John Carter McKnight.

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