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FF Sparks (Casual)

[Space] SpaceShip One

Mike Melville's words in the documentary Black Sky, about the building, testing and first X-Prize flight of SpaceShip One. In honor of the upcoming second X-Prize flight.

A rifle bullet out of an M-16 goes 2700 feet per second. We're going to go 3400 feet per second. That's two thirds of a mile every second, and when you look at that vehicle, it doesn't look like it could go that fast. It's just made out of fabric, with some epoxy glued to it to keep it stiff. It's got plastic windows, and it's going faster than a bullet. There's some risk involved there!

History's already been made by the flights they've done before, but this one will mark the race as won. Good luck to the Scaled Composites folks! (And to those who are interested in it, I cannot recommend Discovery's 'Black Sky' documentary enough.)


SpaceShip One fascinates me. I only wish I could be there in the Mohave for the second X-Prize launch - I mean, the launching area's only about a hundred, maybe 150 miles from me, so it's entirely driveable. But I'd never get back in time for work!

A friend of mine was at the launch a few months back when they did the unmanned test. It worked beautifully, and she took lots of cool pics.
This documentary is absolutely incredible. (And two hours long!) There was an interview with Burt Rutan where he mentioned that they'd asked for a small amount of SpaceShipOne -- some small piece -- to put into the next Pluto probe. As Rutan explained this, he got choked up and started crying on camera, because he couldn't express how much that had affected him.

Another moment was just before the record-setting flight where Melville earned his astronaut wings. He said something along the lines of, "This is a dangerous thing to be doing, but Burt Rutan... I... he's an incredible man, and nothing he's built has ever let me down in all the years I've flown for him." And then he started to cry, as well, and added, "He's my best friend, and he's never let me down. And I hope I.. I don't let him down, either, tomorrow."
And they got it!

Very cool.

Evidently there will be something on Discovery later this week about it, too.

thanks for the pointer...

I hadn't heard of the documentary...this is the sort of thing that makes me wish for TiVo or BeyondTV so I could just tell it to record the next time it comes around...