|Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne|
The X-Prize competition, initiated in 1996, offered a $10 million award for the construction of a vehicle that can carry three people to an altitude of 100 km., return them safely to earth, and repeat the flight within two weeks. In 2003 Scaled Composites, founded by famed aircraft designer Burt Rutan, made headlines with their entry into the contest. This was a two-stage launch system called Tier One, comprising a jet-powered carrier aircraft, White Knight, and a rocket spacecraft, SpaceShipOne.
Carried beneath White Knight to 50,000 ft., SpaceShipOne was released to fly under its own power to the 100 km. target height. For re-entry, the spacecraft's entire tailplane tilted upward in a high-drag 'feather' configuration. As it approached the ground, the tail returned to its normal flying position, and the vehicle glided to a runway landing. The first glide flight of SpaceShipOne occurred on August 7, 2003, and the first rocket-powered flight test took place on December 17, achieving a speed of Mach 1.2.
On 21 June 2004, pilot Mike Melvill took SpaceShipOne beyond 100 km. altitude and returned safely to earth. While this flight did not qualify toward the X-Prize, it represented an important achievement as the first manned spaceflight by a privately-funded vehicle.
On 29 September and 4 October 2004 SpaceShipOne, piloted by Mike Melvill and Brian Binnie respectively, completed the two required flights and won the X-Prize. Though no passengers were aboard, ballast equivalent to the weight of two people was added to meet the requirements of the competition. A year later, on 5 October 2005, SpaceShipOne was unveiled at the National Air and Space Museum's “Milestones of Flight” gallery, alongside such famous aircraft as the Bell X-1 and the Spirit of St.Louis.
This model builds into a detailed 1:48 scale replica of SpaceShipOne. Two versions are now available representing the vehicle as it appeared in December 2003 (the time of its first powered flight) and October 2004 (when it won the X-Prize). The completed model is approximately 7 inches long. You will need a colour printer capable of handling card or cover stock to print the parts sheets. 67 lb cover stock (approx 8.5 thousandths of an inch or 0.2 mm thick) is recommended.
Note to webmasters! If you want to offer this kit on your site, please read this first.
The model files
The parts and instructions are in Adobe PDF format, and have been compressed into ZIP files for faster transfer. They should work on any Windows, Macintosh, OS/2 or Unix/Linux computer. You will need Adobe's Acrobat Reader and an un-ZIP program.
If files are unavailable or slow to download, try at a different time of day, when the file servers may be less busy.
Primary site: Follow this link to download the instruction and parts files.
Secondary site: Not currently available.
Instructions in Magyar - Hungarian designer Laszlo Vadasz has kindly translated the instructions into Magyar.
SpaceShipOne fact sheet (1 page, PDF format, 558 KiB). Click on the image to view.
White Knight model - German designer Jan Müller has designed a beautiful model of the White Knight carrier plane in 1:48 scale. This is available in PDF format (see the Download section) free of charge, though voluntary donations are encouraged.
Tier One program - From the Scaled Composites site, a wealth of information and photos of the White Knight and SpaceShipOne vehicles.
SpaceShipOne videos - From the Scaled Composites site, video footage of SpaceShipOne's space flights.
X-Prize - The official site of the X-Prize organization, with information about all the participating teams.
Virgin Galactic - Richard Branson's Virgin Group will use SpaceShipOne technology to develop space tourism.
Last updated on 8 February 2010
Copyright 2004-2010 by Ralph Currell