Why is this video from SpaceShipOne’s Winning X Prize Mission so impressive (I mean, apart from the fact that this guy just flew an aeroplane about the size of a double bed to space and back)? Is it because of the team’s unlimited American self-confidence? Or because of the acres of competence and sophistication on show? Or because of the awe-inspiring ambition embodied in a mission like this? Or is it because, somewhere about half way through the return to earth, the pilot, Brian Binnie, apparently has to reboot the spaceship?
While you’re at it, compare this with the infinitely sadder NASA video from a few weeks ago.