AP | Plane Soars Out of Earth’s Atmosphere

MOJAVE, Calif. – A rocket plane soared above Earth’s atmosphere Monday in the first privately financed manned spaceflight, then glided back to Earth for an unpowered landing.

SpaceShipOne pilot Mike Melvill was aiming to fly 62 miles above the Earth’s surface and he just exceeded that goal, reaching 62.21 miles, according to radar data.

…Later, standing on the tarmac beside the ship, Melvill said seeing the Earth from outside the atmosphere was “almost a religious experience.”

“You can see the curvature of the Earth,” he said. “You got a hell of a view from 60, 62 miles.”

He also found time for a demonstration of weightlessness by opening a bag of M&M’s candies and watching them float through the cockpit. “It was so cool,” he said.

It doesn’t get much cooler than that.