LIFT-OFF. At about 0648 Lima, the Burt Rutan space plane package took off. The carrier plane will take about an hour to reach launch altitude. I will be back with reports as they come in.

In the meantime, a challenge to policy wonks of a certain age who used to argue, "If we can put a man on the moon, we can (your pet project here.)" Within thirty years of the first powered flight, a famous football coach died in a plane crash. Within forty years, there was a presidential aircraft. Has the governmental monopoly on space exploration fostered or hampered development? Any readers remember when Pan American (remember them) was taking reservations for moon flights, which only happened in a Stanley Kubrick movie?

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