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SCI-FI MEETS REALITY: On June 21, a spaceship developed by a private company -- Scaled Composites, LLC, of Mojave (California), US -- will launch into history on a mission to become the world's first commercial manned space vehicle.

The world's first private spaceship is called SpaceShipOne.

The United States issued a license for a manned sub-orbital rocket in April 2004 opening up space flights to private individuals.

Microsoft co-founder, space enthusiast and philanthropist Paul Allen is financing the project. The company Scaled Composites is headed by aviation legend Burt Rutan. The two hope that commercial space travel will be as lucrative as Allen's software business.

(Above) SpaceShipOne in flight.

Photographs: Scaled Composites

Also see: Cars that will make James Bond drool!

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