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Rutan is poised for a Monday space launchRutan is poised for a Monday space launch

SpaceShipOne pilot Melvill to speak at AOPA Expo

SpaceShipOne pilot Mike Melvill, a 35-year AOPA member, will be the featured speaker at the AOPA Expo opening luncheon October 21 in Long Beach, California, AOPA announced today.

"We congratulate Mike and the entire SpaceShipOne team on the second successful flight of a general aviation spacecraft," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We know that everyone attending Expo is excited to hear Mike tell us more about his astronaut experiences."

Melvill will present and narrate a special video of the space flights and take questions from the Expo audience.

"My wife and I are really looking forward to attending the AOPA convention this year," said Melvill.

Mike Melvill is vice president/general manager and a test pilot for Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites, LLC, based in Mojave, California. He has some 7,000 hours in 123 types of fixed-wing aircraft, 11 types of rotary-wing aircraft, and one spacecraft. He became the first person to pilot a general aviation craft into space on June 21 as he guided SpaceShipOne to an altitude of nearly 62 miles above the earth on its maiden space flight.

Rutan is poised for a Monday space launch
Exclusive for AOPA members, listen to Rutan and Melvill describe latest flight

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SpaceShipOne pilot
and AOPA member
Mike Melvill
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Above: SpaceShipOne and White Knight climb to launch altitude. Below: SpaceShipOne glides to a landing at Mojave Airport after a successful suborbital flight into space (photos by Jim Campbell, Aero-News Network, All Rights Reserved).
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Once again Burt Rutan and his crew are planning to go for space on Monday, October 4. The expected takeoff time of the rocket's mothership is 10 a.m. Eastern time. Even if any mechanical problems or weather issues crop up between now and then, the crew still has plenty of time to fly twice within the two-week window to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. So far, Scaled Composites test pilot Mike Melvill has made the first two successful space flights in SpaceShipOne. But there is a possibility that a different pilot may fly Monday's mission to spread the limelight. On Wednesday, Melvill vertically rolled his way to 337,500 feet before a world audience. So what happened? How do you train to fly something like that? And what's the airframe life of the spacecraft? Get the answers to these and more questions in our special report on AOPA Online, exclusive for AOPA members, and listen to Melvill and Rutan talk about the endeavor in their own words.

Update: October 1, 2004

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