|Michael Winston "Mike" Melvill|
Melvill receiving the first commercial astronaut wings
|Nationality||South African / American|
November 11, 1940 |
Johannesburg, South Africa
|Other occupation||Test Pilot|
|Time in space||~10 mins|
|Missions||SpaceShipOne flight 15P, SpaceShipOne flight 16P|
Michael Winston "Mike" Melvill (born November 11, 1940) is an Earthrounder and one of the test pilots for SpaceShipOne, the experimental spaceplane developed by Scaled Composites. Melvill piloted SpaceShipOne on its first flight past the edge of space, flight 15P on June 21, 2004, thus becoming the first commercial astronaut and the 434th person to go into space. He was also the pilot on SpaceShipOne's flight 16P, the first competitive flight in the Ansari X Prize competition.
Early life / Family 
Melvill was born in Johannesburg, South Africa before his family moved to Kloof near Durban. He attended Highbury Preparatory School and Hilton College. Later on Melvill moved to the United States from England in February 1967 and became a U.S. citizen in 1972. Melvill is married; he and his wife Sally have two sons and four grandchildren.
Test pilot 
Melvill met Burt Rutan when he showed Rutan the Rutan VariViggen he had built at his home. A longtime acquaintance of Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan, Melvill has flown the first flights of ten of Rutan's aircraft. Melvill also helped develop the release mechanism for SpaceShipOne. He was the vice president and general manager of Scaled Composites, LLC; he has 25 years of experience as a test pilot, and has logged nearly 7600 hours in over 130 types of aircraft; he retired in October 2007.
Awards & achievements 
Melvill is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots; in 1999, he received their Iven C. Kincheloe award for his work in high-altitude development testing Scaled's Model 281 Proteus. Melvill also built his own Long EZ aircraft, which he flew around the world with Dick Rutan in 1997. He is also the only person other than Dick Rutan or Jeana Yeager to have piloted the Voyager aircraft. Melvill is the sole or joint holder of nine FAI aviation world records in various categories.
Melvill was the pilot for SpaceShipOne flight 15P, SpaceShipOne's first spaceflight and the first privately funded human spaceflight mission to reach space, on the morning of June 21, 2004. In a ceremony two hours after landing, Melvill was awarded his astronaut wings, specifically the FAA Commercial Astronaut badge, the first wings awarded for a non-government space program and the first for a spaceplane flight since the X-15 flights of the 1960s. In 2004 Melvill received his second Iven C. Kincheloe Award for his work on the SpaceShipOne program.
- "Chronological listing of all known flights around the World". Earthrounders.com. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- "Scaled Composites: combined white knight spaceshipone flight tests". Scaled.com. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "M.Melvill". Worldspaceflight.com. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "Astronaut Biography: Michael Melvill". Spacefacts.de. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "Melvill". Astronautix.com. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "History of Records: Michael W. MELVILL (USA)". records.fai.org. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- "Mike Melvill". Flyincruisein.com. 2004-06-21. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2010)|
- Scaled Composites biography[dead link]
- Sport Aviation article by Melvill describing his round-the-world trip
- "First private space pilot 'ready to go'", msnbc, Alan Boyle, 6/21/2004, accessdate August 2, 2010