The Next Frontier

Today is a historic day - if all goes well and as planned, SpaceShipOne will be the first civilian vehicle to perform manned spaceflight. The flight is scheduled to reach 100 km (62 miles) bove the surface, officially qualifying as a sub-orbital trajectory, and the pilots officially qualifying as the first non-governmental astronauts in history.

The event is open to the public - check out Scaled's FAQ about the launch for more information. Excerpt from the FAQ:

Q: Who is invited?

A: Everyone, especially children. They will want to tell their children that they were there to see the event that triggered the industry of private space tourism.

UPDATE: Mike Melvill has been selected as the pilot.

UPDATE: Successful launch, attainment of space altitude, and safe return to Earth! SpaceFlightNow has the blow-by-blow report. Apparently the International Space Station was passing overhead at the same time and the crew attempted to take photos, which should be interesting indeed. The space station orbits at about 360 Km, which is about six times higher than SpaceShipOne reached in today's historic flight.

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