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Melvill selected to pilot SpaceShipOne
Posted: Sun, Jun 20, 2004, 9:20 PM ET (0120 GMT)
Mike Melvill (Scaled Composites) Scaled Composites announced Sunday that its SpaceShipOne suborbital RLV is ready to make its historic flight into space on Monday, and announced the pilot for that mission. At a press conference at the Mojave, California airport on Sunday afternoon, Burt Rutan announced that Mike Melvill will pilot SpaceShipOne on its flight Monday morning. Melvill flew the last powered flight in May, when SpaceShipOne reached a peak altitude of approximately 65 kilometers. Rutan said that the vehicle is ready to fly, and has been since last week. Upper-level winds should not be an issue, and the only concern will be the possibility of strong crosswinds at ground level. SpaceShipOne and its carrier aircraft, White Knight, are scheduled to take off Monday at 9:30 am EDT (1330 GMT), when winds should be at relatively low levels. Sources are estimating that perhaps 30,000 people may come to view the flight, although event organizers admitted they had no idea just how many are expected.
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