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Rocket Plane Soars Toward Space

June 21, 2004

MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) _ A rocket plane soared toward space Monday in a historic attempt to make the first privately financed flight into space.

SpaceShipOne pilot Mike Melvill ignited a rocket motor for an 80-second burn intended to boost the craft to an altitude of 62 miles above the Mojave Desert.

The craft was designed to make an unpowered landing back at Mojave Airport after an approximately 30-minute glide.

SpaceShipOne was carried aloft slung under the belly of the jet-powered airplane White Knight.

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