Ansari X Prize X1

Long wait. We schlep our gear back to the car. “Are we going to be able to see Space Ship One? Let’s wait and see what more there is to see.” Through binoculars, off in the distance (the VIP area), we see a man with arms raised. Must be Melvill, the pilot. Over the loudspeaker, an “Exciting announcement” about the figure of the X-Prize is underway. And then a “testing, testing” followed by what must be Mike Melvill, commenting on the flight. So much for the exciting X-Prize announcement.

Melvill said that he cut off the engine around 11 seconds early. Things looked good. Did a roll at the top, which is all any exhibition pilot wants to do, a celebratory roll at the top. Other questions about trouble. No, it was great. Perfect. Nominal. He didn’t release any M&Ms this time around, he took pictures when he was up there. Great view.

Then someone else said that they’d bring Space Ship One over to the General Public viewing area. (Oh good.)

And so we got to see the twice-flown astronaut, Mike Melvill, celebrating…

Mike Melvill, arms raised

Melvill thumbs up closer
(according to the Yahoo News photo slideshow , Burt Rutan and Paul Allen were the ones on the back of the pickup hauling around Melvill and Space Ship One. Whaddaya think— is that Rutan’s happy mug looking our way?

Update: New Photo! After seeing other photos of the Paul Allen Burt Rutan back-of-pickup duo, I looked through my fotos and saw that I, too, had one of those. And here it is. Paul Allen is on the left, Burt Rutan is on the right:

Paul Allen, Burt Rutan, Mike Melvill

(okay, seen enough close ups yet? I haven’t. I like my 3x zoom attachment!)
Melvill another thumbs up

Melvill from behind

Hooray and congratulations. And not so crowded. Not much traffic.

…homeward bound.

parking pass

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