October, 2004 The world witnessed the dawn of a new space age this week, as investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Scaled Composites launched the first private manned vehicle beyond the Earth's atmosphere. The successful launch demonstrated that the final frontier is now open to private enterprise. Under the command of test pilot Mike Melvill, SpaceShipOne reached a record breaking altitude of 328,491 feet (approximately 62 miles or 100 km), making Melvill the first civilian to fly a spaceship out of the atmosphere and the first private pilot to earn astronaut wings. This flight begins an exciting new era in space travel," said Paul G. Allen, sole sponsor in the SpaceShipOne program.
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