Ansari X Prize X1

Now they’re talking over the loudspeaker. We walk closer to the speakers (we’re located far from them). Who’s talking? Can’t tell. They must be someplace else. When you can’t see the speaker the name “Ansari X Prize” sounds strange. Ansari sounds like something you’d say if you’re trying not to tread on anyone’s toes as you take your seats at the theatre “‘Scuse me, scuse me. Pardon me. Ansari.” And, in fact, when they had the ceremonial blather at the beginning, it sounded like the speaker kept having to correct himself. “Welcome to the, I’m sorry, X Prize first flight!”

Somewhen during the ceremonial words of praise and thanks and congratulations and excitement, Doc M (my boyfriend, works at JPL) quotes Alan Shepard: “C’mon. Let’s light this candle.”

Then they announce that pilot Mike Mellvill is aboard Space Ship One. And it will start its engines in five minutes.

They announce that the first chase plane is taxiing on the runway.

chase plane taxis

Here comes White Knight and Space Ship One; they’re over by the VIP area (which we plebes could only see from afar. The voices on the loudspeaker would say things like, “If you can’t see, just look on the monitors.” But we in the PlebeSeats had no monitors. Just loudspeakers. Ansari.

white knight near vip area

Now it taxis closer to us. Here’s a better view, with the sunlit mountains behind.
white knight with dawnlit mountains

Here’s the nose of the coupled air/spacecraft:
white knight space ship one nose

After taxiing in front of us, White Knight/Space Ship One pause on runway.
White Knight Space Ship One after taxi

Starship, the other chase plane, taxis down runway (notice in upper right—the first chase plane has just taken off) ….
Starship taxis on runway

….heading into the sunrise
Starship taxis into sunrise

15 responses to “Ansari X Prize X1”

  1. dangerousmeta! » 2020 Hindsight

    […] ds.php”>Category RSS Feeds 9/29/2004 2020 Hindsight has got photos and commentary from the SpaceShipOne X prize attempt. Five pages; look for the page links bottom r […]


    […] g space ship One
    Thursday, September 30th, 2004 by site admin

    fascinating, you know the problem with […]


    […] g space ship One
    Thursday, September 30th, 2004 by site admin

    fascinating, you know the problem with […]

  4. From Behind the Wall of Sleep » Ansari X Prize Pictures

    […] es
    Filed under: Blathering — Daniel Morris @ 00:33

    Susan Kitchens has some nifty Ansari X Prize pictures! Go see. […]


    Ansari X Prize X1
    2020 Hindsight � Ansari X Prize X1 has some nice pictures and play by play of todays launch. Hopefully they can make another launch within the 2 week time frame and prove that private space flight is a viable option…

  6. New Media Musings

    Susan reports on today’s X1 flight
    Susan Kitchens headed out to the Mojave Desert to witness the 6 a.m. launch of the Ansari X Prize X1 private space flight. She has five pages of photos and commentary. Nice job, Susan.

  7. Donald Larson

    Thanks, Susan.

    Great job and pictures!


  8. Rob K

    How many participants (flights & teams) are involved? I heard of a NO2 propelled rocket made of rubber (The rocket portion). Is that part of this endeavor? Am I off my rocker and out to lunch? I guess I should do my own search. Neet doing it live! congrats, Susan et al

  9. Susan Kitchens


    I just learned from Xeni Jardin (she blogs at BoingBoing, and also reports on NPR’s Day to Day, and attended from the VIP area) that Space Ship One runs on nitrous oxide and rubber. So yes, you got that partially right (it burns rubber, it’s not made outta rubber). I didn’t know that before. Hmm. May have to do a post on it.

  10. Stu Savory

    Yes Susan, that’s Burt Rutan in the back of the pickup, I know him.


  11. Susan Kitchens

    Stu, Thanks. I thought as much. Actually, I’m going to dig up a picture that has both Burt Rutan and Paul Allen and post it. Oh, and Stu, how do you know Burt Rutan?

  12. Peter van Wyk

    Good story and pix.

  13. Geek News Central

    Spaceship One historic flight from a bloggers perspective
    Great pictorial commentary from 2020 Hindsight direct from Mojave. [2020 Hindsight]…

  14. Sci Fi Ranter Girl

    Space Ship One’s flight blogged
    If I was lucky enough to be there. I would have blogged the event as well. Great job and thanks!

  15. chelsea morris

    Hi how are you diong to day them pictures are very nice and they are pretty.see ya later got to go