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Beyond Visions of the Interplanetary Probes [Benson, 2007] (hardcover)
978-0810995468
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Detailed Description

In the more than forty years since the first human left the atmosphere of Earth, no one had ever done so without the help of a government agency. That changed on June 21, 2004, when SpaceShipOne, built by aircraft designer Burt Rutan, entered space and ushered in the commercial space age.

Investment capital began to pour into the new commercial spaceflight industry. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic will begin ferrying space tourists out of the atmosphere in 2009. Las Vegas hotelier Robert Bigelow is spending $500 million of his personal fortune to develop the world's first commercial space station (i.e., space hotel). Former PayPal CEO Elon Musk is developing orbital spacecraft to service Bigelow's space station. Others want to tap the vast natural resources of space, including unlimited solar power. These space entrepreneurs, including Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, now see space as the Next Big Thing.

In Rocketeers, Michael Belfiore goes behind the scenes of this nascent industry, capturing its Wild West, anything-goes flavor, enhanced by the fact that most of the players live and work in California, New Mexico, Texas, and other western states, with plenty of open space for rocket launching. Likening his research to "hanging out in the Wright brothers' barn," Belfiore offers an inspiring and entertaining look at people who are not afraid to make their bold dreams a reality.
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