Ten years ago, SpaceShipOne completed the first private flight into space

Ten years ago today, SpaceShipOne and pilot Mike Melvill blasted just past the Earth’s atmosphere into space, marking beginning of commercial spaceflight. The Paul Allen-funded project successfully became the first privately-financed human spaceflight, and after its success it seemed that commercial space travel was just around the corner. However, after just a couple more flights later in 2004, the SpaceShipOne was retired. There hasn’t been another commercial, suborbital human spaceflight since.

That failure certainly isn’t for lack of trying, however. Richard Branson’s quest to open space travel to all has seen hundreds of millions of dollars sunk into the SpaceShipTwo project, a space vessel that builds off of its predecessor. If…

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