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Black Sky: The Race for Space (2004)

The remarkable story of Burt Rutan and SpaceShipOne. Only three of the most powerful governments in the world have achieved what they set out to do from a garage in the Mojave desert: to put a man in space.
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Tom Bales ...
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Jim Benson ...
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Brian Binnie ...
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Cory Bird ...
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John Campbell ...
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Korey Kline ...
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Steve Losey ...
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Mike Melvill ...
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Sally Melvill ...
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Burt Rutan ...
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Doug Shane ...
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Peter Siebold ...
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The remarkable story of Burt Rutan and SpaceShipOne. Only three of the most powerful governments in the world have achieved what they set out to do from a garage in the Mojave desert: to put a man in space.

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spaceshipone | rutan | See All (2) »

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Documentary

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3 October 2004 (USA)  »

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Fabulous documentary about SpaceshipOne, even according to Rutan himself!
20 May 2005 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

This documentary about the development of SpaceshipOne, the Burt Rutan rocket-plane that broke the 100 km. altitude barrier and claimed the X-prize, is a fabulous, exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the whole project.

Burt Rutan said - in a speech after the final SpaceshipOne flight - that the whole flight crew had actually watched this documentary the night before the flight, and had been very touched by it. The Discovery Channel film crew got exclusive access to the project, and it certainly shows that nothing was hidden to them.

Presented in a quick almost music-video-like pace, the documentary doesn't delve into much technical detail, but rather goes for an emotional impact, through the interviews with the protagonists: engineers, pilots, their families and Mr. Rutan himself. With great frankness they discuss their aspirations and fears, and really manage to transmit the entrepreneurial spirit and "frontier" mentality that was the backbone of the project. Also, the fears of the relatives of the test pilots come through in some rather emotional parts of the documentary.

The SpaceshipOne flights looked rather effortless on TV, but in "Black Sky" we get to see that, well, it wasn't all that simple to strap a big huge rocket to the back of a man, and propel him into the stratosphere! Cockpit views during flight makes it clear that it took a lot of guts to get into SpaceshipOne, a real pilot's plane with only the minimum of instrumentation to keep it light. There were some harrowing moments during the trial flights, and it is all told in nail-biting detail.

For an exciting and touching documentary about the SpaceshipOne project, this is the one to watch.

Another documentary, called "Winning the X-prize", is the follow-up to this one, and deals with the two SpaceshipOne flights that actually took the X-prize home. That one is made by the same Discovery Channel crew, and is great as well.


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