[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
SpaceShipOne goes on show in US
The privately built vehicle will hang alongside legendary aircraft such as the Spirit of St Louis

SpaceShipOne, the only manned spacecraft to be flown by a private company, has been hung in Washington's National Air and Space Museum.

The record-setting vehicle has been put in the museum's central gallery next to Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St Louis and Chuck Yeager's Bell X-1.

The donation to the famous US museum was marked by a special ceremony.

It was attended by Burt Rutan, the designer of SpaceShipOne, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the sole funder.

It will inspire the next generations eager to experience a new accessibility to space
Jack Dailey, NASM director
On 21 June 2004, SpaceShipOne rocketed into space, travelling just above the 100km (62 miles) boundary that marks the edge of Earth's atmosphere.

It was first carried to 13.8km (46,000ft) by its launcher, White Knight, after which it was unleashed, firing its engine to continue the journey upwards.

This milestone flight made it the world's first privately built and piloted vehicle to reach space.

"SpaceShipOne represents the next step in travelling beyond our planet," museum director General JR "Jack" Dailey said.

"It will inspire the next generations eager to experience a new accessibility to space."

Interactive kiosks

The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) collection now contains five vehicles designed by Burt Rutan.

SS1 in flight (BBC)
Commercial spaceliners will now follow SpaceShipOne
The building's south lobby gallery displays Rutan's Voyager aircraft, which in 1986 made the first non-stop flight around the world without re-fuelling.

In October 2004, SpaceShipOne flew to an altitude of more than 100km twice in one week to claim the $10m Ansari X-Prize, initiated to galvanise private space travel.

The NASM has also introduced interactive kiosks in the Milestones of Flight gallery where SpaceShipOne is hanging.

These will allow visitors to view footage of the spacecraft in flight, learn about its place in aviation history, and study its cockpit through 360-degree, high-resolution photography.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific