22/12/2003. Contributed by Jessica Martin
Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen confirms he's funding the SpaceShipOne project.
Microsoft founder Paul G. Allen has confirmed speculation that he is the long-rumored sponsor behind the SpaceShipOne project, which broke the sound barrier last week during its first manned test flight.
SpaceShipOne and its White Knight turbojet launch aircraft represent the main private non-government effort to demonstrate a low-cost manned space effort ... making SpaceShipOne a contender for the coveted X-prize.
"Being able to watch today's successful test flight in person was really an overwhelming and awe-inspiring experience. I'm so proud to be able to support the work of Burt Rutan and his pioneering team at Scaled Composites," Paul told the 'Nest, admitting he has funded the effort since he and Rutan joined forces in March of 2001.
"As we celebrate the centennial of flight, it's wonderful to be able to capture the spirit of innovation and exploration in aviation. SpaceShipOne is a tangible example of continuing humankind's efforts to travel into space, and effectively demonstrating that private, non-government resources can make a big difference in this field of discovery and invention."
"Today's milestone and the SpaceShipOne project would never have been possible without Paul's tremendous support," said Burt Rutan, the inventor and aerospace engineer who's leading the project at Scaled Composites.
"Paul shares our energy and passion for not only supporting one-of-a-kind research, but also a vision of how this kind of space program can shape the future and inspire people around the world."
For details about today's test flight, including specifications on speed, altitude, etc., surf on over to www.scaled.com.
For details about the X-prize get your virtual skates on over to www.xprize.com.
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