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'Pioneers' Take Flight
'Pioneers' Take Flight
21 Jun 2004
(Source: NASA Headquarters)

Glenn Mahone/Bob Jacobs
Headquarters, Washington
June 21, 2004
(Phone: 202/358-1898/1600)

RELEASE: 04-199
NASA ADMINISTRATOR LAUDS SUCCESSFUL HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe about the first sub-orbital flight of a person on a private spacecraft.

"We applaud the remarkable achievement of Burt Rutan, Paul Allen and test pilot Mike Melvill following the first successful suborbital flight of SpaceShip One.

"Not unlike the first U.S. and Soviet space travelers in 1961, and China's first successful spaceflight this year, these private citizens are pioneers in their own right. They are doing much to open the door to a new marketplace offering the experience of weightlessness and suborbital space flight to the public.

"We congratulate the SpaceShip One team and wish all those who may follow safe flights."

Astronaut Mike Fincke, who is living and working on board the International Space Station, conveyed his congratulations to the SpaceShipOne team during space-to-ground communications today.

"Fantastic!" Fincke said upon hearing the news that test pilot Mike Melvill had successfully completed the first privately funded suborbital human space flight. "We were wishing them the best of luck. We're all in the space business together, helping mankind get off the planet and explore the stars."

"We're really proud of them, and please, if possible, extend to them our happiest congratulations," he said to the flight controllers in Mission Control Center at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Later, Fincke discussed the SpaceShipOne achievement with NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. NASA Television will air the full audio transmission of Fincke's comments and his conversation with the NASA Administration beginning at 6 p.m. EDT today during the Video File feed.

NASA Television is available on AMC-9, transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 85 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz.

For information about NASA's programs of exploration and discovery, visit: http://www.nasa.gov

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Last Updated: 21 Jun 2004