6/22/04

New Scientist - 'Anomalies' in first private spaceflight revealed

The revelations were made by Burt Rutan, designer of SpaceShipOne, which on Monday became the world's first privately funded craft to enter space. Until the team fully understands exactly what went wrong during the flight, he said, they will not go ahead with the pair of flights needed to claim the $10 million Ansari X-Prize.
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Melvill's first frightening moment on the historic flight came at the very instant he flipped the switch to turn on the hybrid rocket motor. The craft suddenly lurched over 90° to the right, and as soon as he brought it back to level it then rolled 90° to the right.
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But it was the sublime view that affected him the most. "The sky was jet black, with light blue along the horizon - it was really an awesome sight," he said. "You really do get the feeling that you've touched the face of God."

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