SpaceShipOne and its pilot (now astronaut) Mike Melvill succeeded in reaching space and have returned to Earth. This goes into the record books as the first piloted private mission into space. Burt Rutan, chief of Scaled Composites is already planning to send a pilot into Earth orbit, after they attempt to win the Ansari X-Prize sometime by the end of this year.
Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr). View all posts by Richard Leis