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- first private manned spaceship into space
- winner of the 2004 Ansari X Prize
- spaceship designed by Burt Rutan

Please use caution when launching this rocket as it has been known to fly erratically.

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SpaceShipOne at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington DCAs we went through the inventory confirming quantities we came across the Estes model version of the SpaceShipOne. We were struck by SpaceShipOne's significance in the upcoming commercial space travel industry. Although its accomplishments were in 2004, SpaceShipOne still has a futuristic design that defines the new era ahead of us.

The Ansari X PRIZE

Modeled after early 20th century prizes that triggered development of flight, the Ansari X PRIZE was created by the X PRIZE Foundation to further the development of commercial space flight. The prize offered a 10 million dollar reward to the first non-governmental organization to launch a manned spacecraft into space. The craft was to be reusable and to be able to travel to space twice within two weeks. Space was defined as 100 km. The flights were not required to be orbital.

The X PRIZE Foundation is a nonprofit, educational organization with a mission to foster innovation through incentivized prize competitions. The competitions are designed to take on the challenges in the fields of Education & Global Development, Energy and Environment, Life Sciences and Exploration that are deemed to not have solutions. The goal is to stimulate research and development that far exceeds the value of the prize itself.

A total of 26 teams competed for the Ansari X Prize which was eventually won by the Burt Rutan designed SpaceShipOne from the company Scaled Composites. SpaceShipOne did so with flights into suborbital space in September and October of 2004. The October flight took the spacecraft to an altitude of over 112 km.

Retirement in the National Air and Space Museum

For flight enthusiasts there is no place better to celebrate modern aviation than the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. The museum holds such treasures as the actual command module used in the Apollo 11 moon landing and of course the now retired SpaceShipOne. It may be seen hanging from the ceiling just inside the main entrance.

The SpaceShipOne Model Rocket

The Estes version of the SpaceShipOne launches in a vertical position and lands via a parachute (unlike the original version which launches from a plane and then glides back to the ground). Care must be taken however, in ensuring there is proper nose weight as the model tends to move around a bit after launching.