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Tue, Apr 11, 2006

EAA Announces New SpaceShipOne Exhibit At AirVenture Museum

Will Be Dedicated At EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006

A ground-breaking new display at the EAA AirVenture Museum will explore the rapidly emerging era of civilian spacecraft and space tourism when it is dedicated during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006, which will take place July 24-30 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

EAA representatives tell ANN the new exhibit includes a full-size replica of SpaceShipOne, the world's first successful civilian-built spacecraft, made from the same molds as the original craft that won the $10 million Ansari X Prize in 2004.

While the spacecraft on display at the EAA AirVenture Museum won't be the actual SpaceShipOne, it'll be very close: a complete set of spacecraft components were fabricated at Scaled Composites in Mojave, CA by volunteer Scaled staff members, under the supervision of the world's first civilian spacecraft pilot, longtime EAA member Mike Melvill.

The sections are currently being assembled by EAA exhibit specialists in Oshkosh. The finished spacecraft replica will be the centerpiece of one of the most ambitious displays ever attempted in an aviation museum.

"The EAA AirVenture Museum aims to preserve and salute the spirit of personal courage and innovation begun by the Wright Brothers and shown by aircraft designers, builders and pilots throughout aviation history," said Adam Smith, the museum's director. "SpaceShipOne's accomplishments fit well within that tradition. This exhibit will also help broaden our museum's own horizons, adding an exciting space element to what is already one of the world's finest air museums."

The exhibit will also use dramatic sound and lighting effects, as well as rare video footage -- some never seen in public -- to tell the story of a mission into space aboard SpaceShipOne. During this journey, EAA's replica spacecraft will demonstrate a key technological breakthrough conceived by spacecraft designer Burt Rutan. To safely re-enter the atmosphere without excessive heating, SpaceShipOne hinges in half, completely changing the shape of the vehicle. This amazing physical transformation, which "feathers" the spacecraft for re-entry, will occur before museum visitors' eyes as part of the exhibit.

The SpaceShipOne exhibit will be part of the Innovations Gallery, which salutes pioneering designs and flight accomplishments by EAA members and other designers. Six other aircraft designed by Rutan, a longtime EAA member, are part of that area, including a full-size mock-up of the Voyager, which became the first aircraft to fly around the world nonstop on one tank of fuel in 1986. The actual Voyager and SpaceShipOne are displayed at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Rutan, Melvill and other members of the SpaceShipOne team are scheduled to attend EAA AirVenture 2006 and make several presentations about their ongoing work to launch the space tourism industry.

FMI: www.airventure.org, www.scaled.com

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