SpaceShipOne, piloted by a 51-year-old former US navy test pilot Brian Binnie, has won the $10m Ansari X-Prize for the first non-government team to fly three people or their equivalent weight into space, and repeat the feat within two weeks.
The team led by Burt Rutan beat more than 20 rivals to the prize.
SpaceShipOne reached a record 368,000ft on October 4th before landing successfully in the Mojave Desert for the second time in a week. The craft did not roll as it had done on previous flights and set a new record for sub-orbital flight.
Ansari X Prize founder Peter Diamandis hoped the multi-million dollar incentive would have the same effect on space travel as the Orteig Prize had on air travel. Charles Lindbergh claimed the $25,000 prize in 1927 after making his solo transatlantic flight.