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Last Updated: Monday October 04 2004 16:02 GMT

SpaceShipOne 'soars to success'

SpaceShipOne has blasted off into space to win a massive $10m (5.5m) prize.

Reports say the craft, piloted by Brian Binnie, flew to more than 100km above the Earth for the second time in two weeks, to claim the Ansari X-Prize.

It shot straight up into the sky after being released by its carrier plane, White Knight, high above the Mojave Desert in California, US.

The X-Prize was set up to inspire private companies to develop ships to take paying customers into space.

After it's been confirmed, this flight won't only win the team the cash, but it will mean the beginning of a project to develop a 'spaceliner' for Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Last week Sir Richard Branson said he wanted his company to use the SpaceShipOne technology to offer tickets into space to tourists.

Lots of other teams around the world were trying for the prize.

It's thought they'll now set their sights on getting a ship to orbit Earth.

That would mean passengers could stay in space for hours or even days compared to the minutes offered by SpaceShipOne.



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