Dale Amon (of Samizdata) reports from the Mojave dessert that SpaceShipOne piloted by Mike Melvill successfully reached it’s goal altitude of 100Km (62 mile) and it’s time to celebrate. You can get all his entries from on location leading up to the launch here.
A few moments later CNN reports success:
MOJAVE, California (CNN) – SpaceShipOne left the Earth behind on Monday morning and made its indelible entry in the history books as the first private spacecraft to carry humans into space. It touched down safely at Mojave Airport at 11:15 ET.
“It looks great,” said Burt Rutan, chief of Scaled Composites, which built the craft. He gave a thumbs up on the runway as he squinted into the sun at the aircraft he designed.
At 10:51 ET, Mike Melvill ignited the rocket engines and piloted SpaceShipOne into the blackness of space. His trajectory took him more than 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, above Earth’s atmosphere, according to Scaled Composites flight officials.
“It was a mind-blowing experience, it really was — absolutely an awesome thing,” Melvill said after landing.
They are half way to the $10M prize. They must repeat the launch with the same ship within 2 weeks.
Update: WindRider corrects me in the comments. This was a dry run mission. Still very cool, and one man got his astronaut wings.