SpaceShipOne
The privately funded SpaceShipOne is shown here underneath White Knight, the plane that launches the ship into space.

Photo courtesy of Scaled Composites

BAY CITY — Michigan can claim its own small part in the first human space flight financed completely by the private sector. SpaceShipOne made history on June 21 with the help of a glue called PRO-SET epoxy, made by Gougeon Brothers Inc. of Bay City.

Gougeon Brothers staff celebrated the occasion by watching the flight broadcast together. Gougeon Brothers President Robert H. Monroe told The Bay City Times, “It’s one of those things that stirs the imagination.”

PRO-SET epoxy was also used on the White Knight, the plane from which SpaceShipOne was launched. The spaceship was competing in a contest called the Ansari X Prize, which promises $10 million to the first group to launch three people into suborbital space and repeat the feat within 14 days, reusing their equipment. Organizers of the prize hope to initiate an industry in space tourism by showing that space flight can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of government-sponsored programs like NASA.