They did it!
SpaceShipOne made it, and gets to claim the bragging rights, as well as $10,000,000 in prize money. I’m waiting to see the next step. (Scaled Composites site has a cool story as well, but I expect it to move soon. Look now.)
It’s worth noting that the project was financed by Paul Allen, of Microsoft fame. I’ve always said it would take a rich man to get civilian space flight underway. I hope he will continue to help with the financing. Thanks, Mr. Allen, for giving those of us who have given up space for themselves the hope of space for their children.
Funny, though. Bill Gates has a lot more money than Allen, and outside of the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, what has he done to advance the human race? Vaccines for the poor and computers for public libraries are wonderful things, but what Paul Allen has done is to jumpstart the process for Getting Us Off This Rock. Far more important, in my estimation.