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We Have a Winner: X-Prize Goes to SpaceShipOne

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St. Louis Science Center President Doug King raises a bottle of champagne Monday morning after the X-Prize had been won (UPI photo)

By AP/KWMU

Mojave, Cal. – The St. Louis-based Ansari X-Prize has been won.

Organizers of the $10 million award, which goes to the developers of a manned private space-plane that can make it into space twice in as many weeks, say the goal was reached Monday morning.

SpaceShipOne was again carried into the skies by a mother plane. Then, when the craft reached an altitude of 46,000 feet, it was released and left to its own rocket engines to fly the rest of the way. The founders of the X-Prize say the plane again rose to an altitude of more than 62 miles.

The pilot this time was Brian Binnie; afterwards he thanked God that he lives "in a country where this is possible." Last week's flight, which was piloted by Michael Melvill, included an unintended roll as the plane neared space. This time, there appeared to be no problems.

The St. Louis Science Center had its own mission control running this morning, showing live footage of the launch by the team called Scaled Composites.

The X-Prize is aimed at making space travel affordable. Peter Diamandis describes the race for the X-Prize he founded in 1996 as a "space revolution."

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