June 21, 2004

Today IS Space History

As often as "One for the History Books" is misused, today actually is one. Today, The badly-named SpaceShipOne became the first privately-funded spacecraft to reach orbit.

At 10:51 ET, Mike Melvill ignited the rocket engines and piloted SpaceShipOne into the blackness of space. His trajectory took him more than 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, above Earth's surface, according to Scaled Composites flight officials.

"It was a mind-blowing experience, it really was -- absolutely an awesome thing," Melvill said after landing. "The colors were pretty staggering. From up there, it's almost a religious experience."

Melvill said once he reached weightlessness, he opened a bag of M&M's in the cockpit that floated around for three minutes while the ship sailed high above California.
The pilot should get his check from the M & M's company within the week.

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