Space Ship One

Oct 04, 2011 No Comments by

SpaceShipOne was a suborbital air-launched spaceplane that completed the first manned private spaceflight in 2004. That same year, it won the US$10 million Ansari X Prize and was immediately retired from active service. Its mothership was named “White Knight”. Both craft were developed and flown by Mojave Aerospace Ventures, which was a joint venture between Paul Allen and Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan‘s aviation company. Allen provided the funding of approximately US $25 million.

Rutan has indicated that ideas about the project began as early as 1994 and the full-time development cycle time to the 2004 accomplishments was about three years. The vehicle first achieved supersonic flight on December 17, 2003, which was also the one-hundredth anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ historic first powered flight. SpaceShipOne’s first official spaceflight, known as flight 15P, was piloted by Mike Melvill. A few days before that flight, the Mojave Air and Space Port was licensed as the USA’s first commercial spaceport. A few hours after that flight, Melvill became the first licensed U.S. commercial astronaut. The overall project name was “Tier One” which has evolved into Tier 1b with a goal of taking a successor ship’s first passengers into space within the next few years.

General characteristics

Crew: one, pilot
Capacity: 2 passengers
Length: 16 ft 5 in (8,05 m)
Wingspan: 16 ft 5 in (8,05 m)
Height: ()
Wing area: 161.4 ft² (15 m²)
Empty weight: 2,640 lb (1,200 kg)
Loaded weight: 7,920 lb (3,600 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × N2O/HTPB SpaceDev Hybrid rocket motor, 7,500 kgf (74 kN)
Isp: 250 s (2450 Ns/kg)
Burn time: 87 seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.6

Maximum speed: Mach 3.09 (2,170 mph, 3,518 km/h)
Range: 35 nm (40 mi, 65 km)
Service ceiling: 367,360 ft (112,000 m)
Rate of climb: 82,000 ft/min (416.6 m/s)
Wing loading: 49.07 lb/ft² (240 kg/m²)
Thrust/weight: 2.08


About the author

Holly Hansen is the web developer at Air Age Media. Holly is responsible for online marketing and circulation promotions, and executing new digital initiatives across all platforms.
No Responses to “Space Ship One”
Copyright © 2015 Air Age Media. All rights reserved.