SpaceShipOne, the first privately built and piloted vehicle to reach space, has gone on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
The spacecraft, 28 feet in length with a 27-foot wingspan, is displayed in the Smithsonian Institution museum's central Milestones of Flight gallery, between Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis and Chuck Yeager's Bell X-1.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who funded the development of SpaceShipOne, presented the space vehicle to the museum.
On June 21, 2004, SpaceShipOne left Earth's atmosphere and entered space, traveling just above the 62-mile boundary mark on an arced, suborbital flight that began with its launch from an aircraft mothership.
It marked the first time that private enterprise, and not a government, entered into human spaceflight, the museum said.
In the fall of 2004, SpaceShipOne crossed into space during three suborbital flights within a period of 14 days, thereby winning the $10 million Ansari X Prize.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International
Explore further: NASA image: Curiosity's stars and stripes