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Amateur rocket reaches space
Posted: Tue, May 18, 2004, 1:47 PM ET (1747 GMT)
A rocket launched from the Nevada desert on Monday has become the first amateur-built rocket to reach space. The GoFast Rocket, assembled by a team of amateur rocketeers called the Civilian Space Exploration Team (CSXT), lifted off from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada Monday morning. Initial calculations, based on the speed of the rocket when its motor burned out, indicate that the rocket reached a peak altitude of at least 100 kilometers, and perhaps as high as 115 km, before returning to Earth about 50 kilometers from the launch site. Definitions on the altitude at which space begins vary from 80 to 100 km. As of early Tuesday the two sections of the rocket, which contain instruments and telemetry that will permit a more accurate altitude determination, had yet to be recovered. The launch was the third effort by CSXT, led by former Hollywood stuntman Ky Michaelson, to launch an amateur rocket into space; previous launch attempts in 2000 and 2002 failed. The launch was monitored by the FAA but did not require a launch license since the vehicle qualified for an exemption for certain types of amateur rockets.
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