PICK OF THE WEEK : Private spaceship sets historic launch

SEATTLE: The world’s first privately funded rocket plane plans to shoot beyond the uppermost layers of Earth’s atmosphere later this month in a bid to demonstrate the viability of commercial space flight, organisers of the project said. The SpaceShipOne project, backed by Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft Corp, and led by aviation expert Burt Rutan, plans to send a rocket plane 100 kilometers into the air and back down again.

“Every time SpaceShipOne flies we demonstrate that relatively modest amounts of private funding can significantly increase the boundaries of commercial space technology,” Allen, a well-known and science fiction fan, said.