Ansari X Prize X1

But after a while, we couldn’t find it by looking at other people. They stared in different directions, searching the sky just like we were. Couldn’t see anything. I looked up into the blue, and all I saw were floaters in my eyes, and random noise. (Strange, it’s a phenomenon I associate with pixellation, not normal vision. This has to be the first time in a long while I’ve stared up into blue for a prolonged period of time.)

I can almost hear them saying, “Do you see it?” “Naaaah, can’t see a dang thing. Sun’s in my eyes.”
Do you see it? Naaah, can't see a dang thing. Sun's in my eyes

We heard word that separation would be in five minutes. Well, after separation, Space Ship One would start its engine and would be easy to spot. I hope.

Separation! Then a pause. Then, “there!” (toward the sun. Of course. I’d been hunting in a different part of the sky). The contrail grew longer as Space Ship One climbed. Here’s the tip of it (zoom camera aim under these conditions is approximate):

The tip of the contrail

“Where is it? Where is it?” “There! There it is!!”
Where is it? There it is!

After the cutoff of engine, we waited. White Knight appeared again, circling in descent.

White Knight descent

Then we saw them, flying together: Space Ship One and the two chaser planes.
Space Ship One and two chasers

They circled around and down. Next thing I knew, Space Ship One landed. Too fast to get a picture. (I thought there’d be another circle ’round)

Then, in a bit, White Knight came in for landing.

White Knight Landing

Here are the two chase planes and the Discovery Channel plane (the dark one). At least, that’s what someone nearby said the darker jet was.

Flight escort planes

The two chase planes:

The two chase planes

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