No, Google hasn’t bought SpaceShipOne

While most of the NewSpace world was focused this past weekend on the X Prize Cup in New Mexico, there was a report on the Web business blog TechCrunch claiming that Google had bought SpaceShipOne and was installing it in its Silicon Valley headquarters, the Googleplex. That report, of course, was nonsense, since SS1 had been in the National Air and Space Museum for over a year now. As TechCrunch and eWeek later reported, the real SS1 is alive and well in the NASM, while Google has acquired a replica of SS1, one of several such replicas in existence (another was at the X Prize Cup). If you look closely at a photo of the replica being installed at the Googleplex you can tell it’s not the real thing: the replicas all bear the insignia of X Prize sponsors and Virgin, as SS1 looked when it made the two X Prize flights in September and October 2004; the real thing in the NASM has been “restored” to its appearance in June 2004 when it made its first space flight, lacking the X Prize sponsor and Virgin logos.

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