September 29, 2004

SpaceShipOne gives us a scare...

ss1image765Unofficially, Burt Rutan's suborbital space system achieved the required altitude to accomplish part one of the X-Prize, but not without a lot more excitement than was expected.

All proceeded according to plan until the craft was rocketing straight upward to its altitude goal, when it began to continually roll in a way that was not expected by observers.

Watching it on TV I was very concerned for the safety of Mike Melvil and the craft. When the rocket engine cut off, and the tail feathered, I initially thought that it was an early transition, and that the flight was being aborted. But I was mistaken. Unofficial reports are that in spite of the difficulties, the craft exceeded, by far, the required altitude.

Mike returned safely to the ground without any further apparent mishaps. Now we are awaiting the formal press briefings, and the result of the post flight tech analysis.

Posted by jackhodgson at September 29, 2004 12:13 PM