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Wed, Feb 23, 2005

SpaceShipOne And White Knight Coming To Oshkosh!

Historic Civilian Spacecraft To Be On Display All Week

SpaceShipOne, the world's first successful civilian-built spaceship that captured the world's attention last fall by winning the $10 million Ansari X Prize, is coming to Oshkosh! The history-making spacecraft and its carrier aircraft, White Knight, have been confirmed for arrival at EAA AirVenture, July 25-31 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

This is the ONLY planned public appearance of these two aircraft in one place. Preliminary plans call for White Knight and SpaceShipOne to be at EAA AirVenture for the event's entire seven-day run. After arriving on Monday, July 25, the aircraft will be available for up-close viewing on the main AeroShell Square showcase ramp until their departure on Sunday, July 31.

"There is no more fitting place for these cutting-edge aircraft to appear together than at EAA AirVenture, the annual celebration of aviation's spirit of innovation," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman. "SpaceShipOne and White Knight show where the dreams of flight can lead us, to a place where not even the sky is the limit. We are very proud that those who led this achievement received inspiration through EAA and want to share their accomplishment in Oshkosh, where the whole world gathers to celebrate flight."

Burt Rutan, the airplanes' designer, and Mike Melvill, who last September flew the first of two missions required to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize for civilian spaceflight, will lead a delegation from Rutan's company, Scaled Composites, at EAA AirVenture. Rutan and Melvill, both longtime EAA members, hosted a number of extremely popular presentations at EAA AirVenture 2004, shortly after SpaceShipOne's successful test flight to the outer edge of Earth's atmosphere.

"Through the years, I have always enjoyed flying my designs to Oshkosh," Rutan said. "EAA has always been the place where aviation innovation is inspired and encouraged, and has been part of my life for more than 30 years. We are eagerly looking forward to bringing the aircraft to Oshkosh this summer."

Investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen partnered with Rutan's Scaled Composites team to form one of more than a dozen groups that sought the Ansari X Prize, awarded to the first civilian group to build and fly a single spacecraft to a height of 100 kilometers (62 miles) twice in a two-week period. On September 29, 2004, Melvill flew SpaceShipOne to that height and Brian Binnie followed up with the second flight on October 5 over the southern California desert.

"I have heard from many EAA members and aviation enthusiasts since those flights, and I believe many of them are just as excited about the achievement as we are," Melvill said.

EAA AirVenture 2005 will offer all attendees the opportunity to see the aircraft that accomplished that goal and hear from the main participants exactly how it occurred.

"Everyone involved with EAA felt tremendous pride at the accomplishments of SpaceShipOne," Poberezny said. "Now, at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this year, we will have the chance to join together and celebrate this achievement, which opens the second century of powered flight to a new horizon and even bigger possibilities."

FMI: www.eaa.org, www.airventure.org

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