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The Longest Now

Trickster’s time, in suborbit
Thursday July 15th 2004, 6:27 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire

Flying slightly under the radar recently was a groundshaking achievement in the aviation community — the first private flight
to pass the 100km crystal ceiling separating “space” from our atmosphere. Scaled Composites launched their baby, SpaceShipOne, from 15km up, at which point it climbed to 100km before returning and gliding back to the newly-appointed Mojave Spaceport. A try from the same port at claiming the $10M X-Prize is expected in late September.
Here’s a fairly long video of the flight from a mounted camera.

Patti Grace Smith, the Federal Aviation Administration’s associate administrator for commercial space transportation, awarded [Mike] Melvill the first astronaut wings ever granted by the FAA and the Department of Transportation. — Alan Boyle reporting on the aftermath of SpaceShipOne’s first flight to 100km

Tricksters come in every shape and size, and at every altitude.
It’s the ones which act like normal, risk-averse people that worry
me; are they so unrealistic they will be shocked and amazed at the
first disaster? Only if it happens to them? Is it a marketing ploy well before its time? TGV comes to mind: Michelle-B can be ready to fly again in a few hours. The small ground crew inspects and services the vehicle for rapid turnaround… [she] allows any person or organization to participate in space activities with minimal cost and maximum utility. Our simple mini van will do for aerospace what the PC did for computing.

Oh, and then what? It’s fun to evoke change, to be the punctuation in the equilibrium. It’s also fun to pretend we have, even collectively, free will. Suggestions welcome.

“This is going to be disruptive innovation, and disruptors live on small margins. If this was going to make a phenomenal return, Boeing would be doing this.” — TGV’s Pat Bahn, on revolutionizing spaceflight with commodity suborbital RLVs

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