Near the end of the climb, one of the electrical actuators that controls the craft in pitch and roll apparently failed. When Melvill called for a pitch maneuver that should have moved the left and right wing controls, only one of them moved, and SpaceShipOne rolled to the left, skidding 20 miles off course in seconds. "I really thought I had a big problem," Melvill said after the flight. But the vehicle left the atmosphere at that point--and with no air, the position of the control surface no longer mattered, and Melvill was able to stabilize it with pneumatic jet thrusters and activate a back-up trim system. "If I hadn't popped out of the atmosphere at that moment, it would have been all over," Melvill said.