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Witnesses to History Photograph by Jim Sugar
The press corps turns all eyes on test pilot Mike Melvill, standing atop the SpaceShipOne rocket shortly after his September 29 flight. Melvill made his ascent to more than 337,500 feet (102,900 meters), almost two miles (three kilometers) higher than the required altitude, and brought the rocket home for a smooth touchdown. "It's unusual to bring a spaceplane right up to the press and public only ten minutes after landing," notes Rutan. "But there are no hazards like toxic chemicals or pyrotechnics. It's even safer to be around than a light plane—no dangerous propeller."
Photo Fast Facts
Camera: Nikon F100 Film Type: Kodak Ektachrome 100 Lens: Nikkor 16mm (square fisheye lens) Speed and F-Stop: 1/250 @ f/8
Weather Conditions: Clear and sunny Time of Day: 8:30 a.m. Lighting Techniques: Available light