Years ago, Burt Rutan told a reporter for Popular Mechanics, “If we make a courageous decision like the goal and program we kicked off for Apollo in 1961, we will see our children or grandchildren in outposts on other planets.” Legendary science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clark would later recall Rutan’s quote in a piece he wrote about SpaceShipOne and comment, “Fortunately, we need not rely solely on governments for expanding humanity’s presence beyond the Earth.” “”Burt Rutan’s Race to Space, which will be released next month, chronicles Rutan’s efforts to do just that.
From science writer Dan Linehan, this heavily illustrated history traces Rutan’s evolution toward becoming one of the great aerospace designers of all time. It starts with Rutan’s early career when he developed aircraft for the Rutan Aircraft Factory, a period marked by some of his greatest leaps in aerospace design; his founding of Scaled Composites, where many of his design breakthroughs are still kept under intense proprietary secrecy; his elegant SpaceShipOne design, a true engineering marvel; and SpaceShipTwo, the vehicle that would in many ways be the culmination of Rutan’s childhood dream and life’s work.
In 2004, former engineer Linehan attended the launch of SpaceShipOne when it captured the Ansari X Prize. His first book was “SpaceShipOne: An Illustrated History.” Linehan’s publications range from poems about fishermen in local newspapers to articles about superconductors in scientific journals.
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