Private Rocket

SpaceShipOne rocket climbs above Earth's atmosphere

It went even higher than planned. The world's first privately-built manned spaceflight got way off the ground today. Radar data confirms that the aircraft went slightly more than 62 miles above the Earth's surface, out of its atmosphere and then back down again. Pilot Mike Melvill landed the SpaceShipOne in the Mojave Desert 90 minutes after taking off while attached to a jet-powered plane. Melvill managed some fun in the cockpit, opening a bag of M&M's to watch them float around -- and later saying it was "so cool." Aside from the candy colors, Melvill said the view of Earth from way up was "pretty staggering" -- between the planet's colors and curvature. He said some noises he heard while re-entering the atmosphere made him wonder if he should be doing it, but that it went flawlessly.