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This Week in Tech History: SpaceShipOne Achieves Spaceflight

A new way to listen to music is unveiled, a popular PC operating system is released and the first privately funded spaceplane heads to space… It all happened This Week in Tech History.

This week in 1948 – Columbia Records announced that it was offering a new Vinylite long-playing record that could hold 23 minutes of music on each side. One of the first LPs produced was of the original cast recording of the Broadway show, “South Pacific”. Critics quickly scoffed at the notion of LPs, since those heavy, breakable, 10-inch, 78 RPM disks with one song on each side, were selling at an all-time high. It didn’t take very long though, for the 33-1/3 RPM album — and its 7-inch, 45 RPM cousin to revolutionize the music industry and the record buying habits of millions.

1995 – Microsoft and Netscape officials met at Netscape headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Notes taken by Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen indicate that Microsoft offered to buy a share of its rival if Netscape would stop making Navigator for the Windows market. The Andreessen notes would be used later in the U.S. government’s massive antitrust case against Microsoft.

1998 – Windows 98 was released. Microsoft used the slogan, “Works better. Plays better.” The company said the new operating system would bring an “increased computer experience by providing a rich feature set for a wider variety of users than ever before.” Interest in the new release was also increased by the publicity generated by the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust suit against Microsoft.

2004 – SpaceShipOne lifted off from the Mojave Desert becoming the first privately funded spaceplane to achieve spaceflight. The aircraft was built with more than $20 million in funding by billionaire Paul Allen, and was piloted by Michael Melvill. SpaceShipOne reached an altitude of 62.21 miles.

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Written by Chris Graveline

Chris has covered consumer technology for over 20 years. He is the host of This Week in Tech History as well as a regular co-host on "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" and our Technical Director.

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