SpaceShipOne Flight X1: September 29, 2004

SpaceShipOne and Chase Planes I got to witness history in the making on September 29, 2004. I arrived at the Civilian Flight Test Center in Mojave, California at 4am. The official X-Prize program began just after 6am and was broadcast live on the internet. Takeoff was around 7am, separation and rocket burn shortly after 8am and landing around 8:30.

Mike Melvill on SpaceShipOne On the general public viewing area flight line, we were able to hear the audio of the live X-Prize webcast while watching the actual events unfold before our eyes. It was spectacular to witness Burt Rutan's amazing White Knight and SpaceShipOne aircraft takeoff, fly and land safely, taking it half way to the X-Prize of $10 million. White Night carried SpaceShipOne right in front of us as it taxied out for takeoff. We could actually see them and their chase planes circle up until they seemed to disolve into the sky as little tiny invisible specks. When the rocket lit, we could see a line zooming straight up in the sky for well over a minute! Then there was nothing to see until the chase planes and SS1 were back down to a visible altitude in their spiraling decent to landing.

Mike Melvill on SpaceShipOne I'm not very good with a camera, but here are just a few shots I actually took. There are much better quality pictures available on-line in the links below. And, if you have time, the webcast is very well done and definitely worth seeing. The webcasts include amazing shots taken from radar tracked cameras on the ground and on-board chase planes and on SS1 itself. I will be tuning in to watch flight X2 on-line.

What an incredible day. I am so thankful I got to be there and see this historical event.

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Timothy D. Witham <>
Time-stamp: "2004-10-01 09:00:01 twitham"