Rocket plane soars over Mojave Desert

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

MOJAVE, Calif. -- A fledgling aerospace company took another step toward making private space flights Monday as a rocket-powered plane soared 9,000 feet over the desert.

Xcor Aerospace's EZ-Rocket, outfitted with twin, 400-pound-thrust rocket engines, streaked off a windy Mojave Airport runway and into a cloudy sky.

Shimmering hot exhaust trailed during the demonstration flight for about 100 spectators.

Dick Rutan, who made history in 1986 as co-pilot on the first nonstop, around-the-world flight without refueling, was at the controls.

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