Melvill receiving wings as the first commercial astronaut in history
Michael Winston Melvill
November 30, 1940
|Nationality||South African / American|
|Alma mater||Hilton College|
Time in space
|Missions||SpaceShipOne flight 15P, SpaceShipOne flight 16P|
Michael Winston "Mike" Melvill (born November 30, 1940 in Johannesburg, South Africa) is a world-record-breaking pilot and one of the test pilots for SpaceShipOne, the experimental spaceplane developed by Scaled Composites. Melvill piloted SpaceShipOne on its first flight past the edge of space, flight 15P on June 21, 2004, thus becoming the first commercial astronaut and the 435th person to go into space. He was also the pilot on SpaceShipOne's flight 16P, the first competitive flight in the Ansari X Prize competition.
Life and career
In 1978, Melvill met aerospace designer and Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan when he flew to California to show Rutan the VariViggen he had built at his home. Rutan then hired him on the spot. In 1982, he was named Rutan's lead test pilot.
In 1997, Melvill and Dick Rutan, Burt's brother, flew two Long-Eze aircraft that they built side-by-side around the world. This "around the world in 80 nights" flight was called The Spirit of EAA Friendship World Tour, and some legs of it lasted for over 14 hours.
Awards and achievements
- "Michael Melvill - American pilot and astronaut". Britannica. 28 November 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
- "Chronological listing of all known flights around the World". Earthrounders.com. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- "Scaled Composites: combined white knight spaceshipone flight tests". Scaled.com. Archived from the original on 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "M.Melvill". Worldspaceflight.com. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "Astronaut Biography: Michael Melvill". Spacefacts.de. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "Melvill". Astronautix.com. Archived from the original on 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "Dick Rutan The Frontiers of Flight – The Last Great World Record". 10 October 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
- "History of Records: Michael W. MELVILL (USA)". records.fai.org. Archived from the original on 2010-07-29. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "Mike Melvill". Flyincruisein.com. 2004-06-21. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- Biography at Scaled Composites https://web.archive.org/web/20160424214944/http://www.scaled.com/projects/tierone/pilots/michael_w._melvill
- Sport Aviation article by Melvill describing his round-the-world trip
- "First private space pilot 'ready to go'", msnbc, Alan Boyle, 6/21/2004, accessdate August 2, 2010