Dedication Of SpaceShipOne S/N #2 Thrills Crowd
by ANN Correspondent Annette Kurman
It ain't the original, but you could never tell -- and the crowd
didn't care. Built to exactly model the original SpaceShipOne,
including any of its negligible "imperfections" (screws in the
wrong places, skid marks), the dedication of SpaceShipOne S/N #2
thrilled everyone, and the autograph signing that followed was just
what participants had ordered.
According to EAA President Tom Poberezny, "The homebuilt
movement is proud that EAA is the catalyst for this accomplishment
… The new exhibit, is one of our most significant...
[demonstrating] the dawn of a new era. It expresses our pride in
all that you (Rutan) have accomplished... and through individual
entrepreneurship, recognize what an individual can accomplish."
Declared Museum Director Adam Smith, "This morning, we become
and air and space museum instead of an air museum."
Burt Rutan, futurist, inventor, entrepreneur, recalled for the
crowd how he came to call his craft SpaceShipOne. He didn't want to
call it or, in the future, ride in a craft referred to as "capsule"
or "spacecraft"; it was a space ship, and that's what he called it
right form the beginning.
One of the important breakthroughs Rutan was able to make was in
the area of safety. There really are solutions for the risk and
safety that is so important to the public, he noted. This won't
just be an industry for the rich and famous; "it will be an
opportunity for every one of you, including children, to experience
flying and to view what is outside the atmosphere."
Mike Melville recalled the original SpaceShipOne flights he
piloted, up to and including flight 15P, the first flight into
space by a privately-funded company. The first flight he said, was
scary, the second flight less so. By the time he flew flight 15P,
it was actually fun. "I loved every minute of it," he
For those who visit the EAA Museum, SpaceShipOne S/N#2 will
"feather" hourly, demonstrating the breakthrough transformation
that automatically places the craft at an optimum attitude for
And with a big red button to push by the podium, both Rutan and
Melvill made that transformation happen for the first time in
public. A six-minute film is also incorporated into the exhibit
about Melvill's experience piloting SpaceShipOne, bringing the
audience right into the space ship.
He also spoke about the M&M's he clandestinely brought on
board to disperse within the craft, bringing laughs to those