SpaceShipOne captures X Prize

CNN.com – SpaceShipOne captures X Prize – Oct 4, 2004

MOJAVE DESERT, California (CNN) — SpaceShipOne achieved its most spectacular flight yet, climbing to an altitude of 364,000 feet (70 miles), eight miles beyond what was needed to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize.

With a wish of “Good luck and Godspeed,” mission control sent the privately funded craft toward space for the second time in a week, the requirements for winning the X Prize.

“Today we have made history. Today we go to the stars,” said Peter Diamandis, co-founder of the X Prize Foundation.

The $10 million award is intended to spur civilian spaceflight.

I’m very impressed at the Rutan brothers, and wonder if there’s anything they couldn’t do if they decided to do it.

I’m wondering what the purpose of ‘civilian space flight’ might be. Tourism seems most likely, and that’s fine by me, but I wonder what other ideas are out there. Somebody enlighten me.

Update: from Slashdot, the best quote about civilian space tourism:

i wonder if William Shatner can get me cheap tickets through Priceline…