SpaceShipOne Pilot: 80% of the way to astronaut status

Scaled Composite’s entry in the Ansari X Prize competition seems to be leaving the others far, far behind. Their third powered flight last week took the craft 80% of the way to what NASA considers an altitute inhabited by astronauts.

In a post-flight statement from the company, the SpaceShipOne team reported that their space plane flew to 212,000 feet altitude, almost 41 miles. NASA awards astronaut status to anyone who flies above 50 miles in altitude.

Private Rocket SpaceShipOne Makes Third Rocket-Powered Flight