Scaled Composites, the X-Prize competitor funded by Microsoft mogul Paul Allen, and led by aviation uber-genius Burt Rutan, has scheduled a test flight that, if successful, will be the first space launch in history by the private sector.
SpaceShipOne will rocket to 100 kilometers (62 miles) into sub-orbital space above the Mojave Civilian Aerospace Test Center, a commercial airport in the California desert. If successful, it will demonstrate that the space frontier is finally open to private enterprise. This event could be the breakthrough that will enable space access for future generations.
This flight won’t qualify for the X-Prize since the prize stipulates that you have to take 3 people to space, instead of just one. It is likely, however, a preliminary flight to get ready for a shot at the prize, and the precursor to commercial space travel. One of the reasons that the Mojave Airport is on its way to being licensed by the FTC as the world’s first commercial spaceport. We have spaceports now! My jet-pack and flying car must not be far behind!