SpaceShipOne is a spaceplane. It was used for the first privately-funded manned spaceflight on June 21, 2004, and is the first privately-funded reusable manned spacecraft. It won the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. Previously, it set the record for the first privately-funded aircraft to reach Mach 2 or Mach 3. Development costs are estimated around $25 million.
The historic prototype spaceplane was retired in late 2004, after just three flights. It is currently on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
Scaled Composites, the manufacturer / developer, has entered a deal with Virgin Group to produce a fleet of larger, more powerful space planes. These vessels, called SpaceShipTwo, will be capable of reaching 120km. The fleet of five will be the first passenger-carrying private spaceflight service, and is scheduled to begin commercial flights in 2011. Should that prove successful, they have plans to follow up with an orbital service and craft, dubbed SpaceShipThree.
- Atmospheric Reentry
- Scaled Composites White Knight
Game and Story Use
- Show's what a PC inventor can create given a large enough budget.
- Something similar may be used by the party (or a flight-deprived superhero) to respond to injustice where ever it may occur.
- Why did designer Burt Rutan retire the plane ahead of schedule?
- Taking suborbital flights in SpaceShipTwo will be all the rage for rich folks Twenty Minutes Into The Future. It'll be expensive, but well worth it for the status-minded elite or the guy who's done everything.
- A Mad Scientist hires mercenaries to steal SpaceShipOne from the Smithsonian. What is his ultimate goal?