SpaceShipOne Launch in Mojave:
Gallery Two (Launch Day)
Previously, AVweb brought you a gallery of behind-the-scenes photos from the SpaceShipOne launch preparations. Today we're back with photos from the actual launch, the flight, and the celebrations afterward.
Click for Full-Size Images
Each high-res image
Be sure to
check out our
|And that's just the media parking lot ...|
The world awaits.
|The beginning of a very new day.|
|Libyan Mig killer and manager of China Lake's restricted airspace, Rear Admiral Dave Venlet (right), chats with Dick Rutan.||General Doug Pearson, the only person to have ever shot down a satellite from a fighter jet, currently manages the restricted airspace of Edwards AFB.|
|White Knight with SpaceShipOne rotates for liftoff.||Under the word "Scaled" is the fairing that would later buckle in flight.|
|Taxiing for departure. Look
closely — Melville is giving the
|A spacecraft launched from a "small commercial airport."|
|Old and new.||The first glimpse.|
|SpaceShipOne's contrail.||X-Prize sponsor Ansari.|
|Dick Rutan (in front of the crash truck) looks toward Scaled VP/Program Manager Kevin Mickey (foreground) as an unexpected communications blackout raises concerns.||VIP, fighter pilot, test pilot, and air show pilot extraordinaire Bob Hoover in attendance.|
|Off to make history.||White Knight in victory fly-by.|
|SpaceShipOne at touchdown alongside low-altitude chase (an Extra 300).||SpaceShipOne in glide over Mojave.|
|Burt Rutan on the taxiway awaits touchdown.||A historic contrail.|
|Confusion about where to look, as a concerned Scaled VP/ Program Manager Kevin Mickey strains for visual contact.||There was a lot of that going around.|
|Buckled fairing clearly visible on the bottom aft portion of the craft, just forward of the rocket nozzle. Post-flight inspection indicated the nozzle itself was in no way compromised.||From left, Extra 300, Beech Starship, and AlphaJet performed as chase aircraft at low, medium, and high altitudes, respectively.|
|Paul Allen, Mike Melville, and Burt Rutan (paying homage) after a safe return.|
|Satisfaction, elation, relief ...||Success!|
|A challenged Melville emerges triumphant.||Not bad for 63.|
|Melville describes the view from 328,000 feet: The clouds over the ocean, "it looked just like snow to me ... . It sparkled just like snow."||
By the people, for the people.
After the flight, as the crew went two miles out of its way to tow the craft past the RV parking, a man held up a sign that read "SpaceShipOne, Government Zero."
Melville took the sign and hoisted it above his head as he rode atop the craft.