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APRIL 2005
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Learn More
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Learn More
In Learn More the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects. Special thanks to the Research Division.

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 Did You Know?  
 Related Links  
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Did You Know?Did You Know?

On October 4, 2004, aviation designer Burt Rutan came a step closer to making space flight possible for the public after his rocketship, SpaceShipOne, soared more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) into space, capturing the ten-million-dollar Ansari X Prize for achieving privately manned spaceflight.
The prize was funded in part by Iranian-born engineers and entrepreneurs Anousheh and Amir Ansari. It was modeled after the Orteig Prize, which hotel financier Raymond Orteig created in 1919 to spur the first nonstop solo flight from New York to Paris. Some pilots died in early attempts, but in 1927, 25-year-old Charles Lindbergh succeeded in crossing the Atlantic and winning the lucrative $25,000 Orteig Prize.
Lindbergh wasn't the only aviation pioneer Rutan was following. Rutan chose the October 4, 2004, flight date to commemorate the 47th anniversary of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite launched into orbit, which sparked the heated space race between the former U.S.S.R. and the United States. The United States achieved an important first with Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon. 
—Christy Ullrich

Related Links

X Prize
The official website of the Ansari X Prize details the rules behind the prize.
Scaled Composites
Burt Rutan's company, Scaled Composites, built the prize-winning spacecraft that clinched the X Prize. Learn more details about the craft and its flights.
Space Flight
Discover the latest news in space technology.


Dornheim, Michael. "SpaceShipWon." Aviation Week & Space Technology (October 11, 2004), 34-6.
Reiss, Spencer. "Rocket Man." Wired (January 2005), 136-43.
Taylor, Chris. "The Sky's the Limit." Time Magazine (November 29, 2004), 64-8.

NGS Resources

Klesius, Michael. "Wings of Change." National Geographic (December 2003), 2-33.
Collins, Mary. Airborne: A Photobiography of Wilbur and Orville Wright. National Geographic Books, 2003.
Crouch, Tom D. and Peter L. Jakab. The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age. National Geographic Books, 2003.
Earhart, Amelia. 20 Hrs., 40 Min.: Our Flight in the Friendship. National Geographic Books, 2003.
Long, Michael E. "They're Redesigning the Airplane." National Geographic (January 1981), 76-103.
Bellinger, Patrick N. L. "Sailors in the Sky: U.S. Naval Aviation Marks Its 50th Year." National Geographic (August 1961), 276-96.

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