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SpaceShipOne Exhibit Pieces Arrive At EAA Headquarters

January 16, 2006 - The SpaceShipOne exhibit for EAA AirVenture Museum announced at EAA AirVenture last summer took a giant leap forward this week when parts that will make up the spacecraft mock-up were delivered to EAA headquarters in Oshkosh. Twenty-four composite pieces, built from the original molds and tooling at Scaled Composites, arrived direct from Mojave, California Friday morning.

Over the next several weeks and months the parts will be assembled to form an accurate model of the historic spacecraft that was the first privately funded vehicle ever to achieve suborbital flight in 2004. EAA's SpaceShipOne will even emulate the "feathering" motion, the action that made the historic spaceflights possible.

An artist's rendering of the SpaceShipOne 
exhibit at EAA AirVenture Museum.

It's not a canoe that EAA maintenance staff are unloading, but part of the fuselage for the EAA SpaceShipOne museum exhibit. Photo by Bonnie Bartel.

The exhibit will be formally dedicated at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006 in a special ceremony attended by its designer Burt Rutan and pilots Mike Melvill and Brian Binnie. Melvill, who with his wife, Sally, was a driving force behind establishing the exhibit, told an overflowing Theater in the Woods crown last summer, "I just think it is something the EAA needs. I want to see it in the museum. I think it is a very significant thing. It grew up out of EAA, that's where it came from, and I want to see it on display."

Mike and Sally led a team of Scaled staff and volunteers in completing formation of the parts well ahead of schedule.

EAA Director of Collections Alan Westby and Technician Bauken Noack traveled to Mojave, California, earlier this week to meet with Melvill and other Scaled staff before it was packed into a truck and shipped to Oshkosh.

"We were able to speak with Mike Melvill and other Scaled staff including SS1 project engineer Matt Steinmetz, and they gave us some terrific pointers as to the special intricacies of assembly, and other inside information," Westby said. "Our version will be as cosmetically accurate as possible to the original, plus people will have an opportunity to see its unique feathering action."

EAA staff carries composite pieces into the EAA Restoration Center. Photo by Bonnie Bartel.

Neatly arranged of the floor of the EAA Restoration Center, these composites will be put together to form an accurate mock up of the famous space plane. Photo by Bonnie Bartel.

EAA Museum Director Adam Smith is eager to see the project come together. "It's very exciting for us because there has been a lot of interest in this project since it was announced last summer," he said. "It's especially pleasing to have this exhibit come to EAA's museum, back to the homebuilding heritage of Burt Rutan. There's a genuine connection to most everything that we do here."

Smith added, "Since 1962, this has been one of the world's a leading air museums, but this summer, we'll in fact become an air and space museum!"

EAA's Adam Smith and Alan Westby examine the SpaceShipOne parts Friday.
Photo by Bonnie Bartel.

SpaceShipOne's pieces before loading at Scaled Composites, Mojave.

Mike Melvill, left, led the volunteer effort to produce the parts for EAA's SS1 mockup.

   
   
   
   
   

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