In 2004, Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites and a team of engineers, pilots and visionaries added a milestone to the history of manned spaceflight: the first wholly private craft to reach space. Their creation, SpaceShipOne, lofted to launch altitude by its mother ship WhiteKnightOne, rocketed into space not once, but twice within five days to claim the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE and create the first two private astronauts in history.
Here, in the authentic words of the second of those pilots, whose flight clinched the prize, is the story of SpaceShipOne—from its earliest engineering to the final changes that brought space within its reach. Hundreds of photos, diagrams, charts and reports, many never before seen, chart the course of the project's innovative technology. More than just a technical history, the people, personality and conflicts on the hard road to space come to life from the perspective of a key player.
And the unique personal history of Brian Binnie and the roads that led him to the pilot's seat of that thrilling, record-breaking flight and the second pair of Commercial Astronaut wings ever issued fill out the grand story. From a kid born in the Scottish Highlands to US Naval Aviator to test pilot to astronaut... this tale takes you through that epic adventure as a leadup to that of SpaceShipOne itself.
There are only five manned spacecraft hanging in the National Air and Space Museum's "Milestones of Flight" gallery. SpaceShipOne is among them. This book, in magnificent first-person detail, tells why!
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