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Burt Rutan, Space Flight Engineer

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Burt Rutan, Space Flight Engineer

Burt Rutan, Space Flight Engineer

Burt Rutan, Space Flight Engineer

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Aviation pioneer Burt Rutan flies weightless for the first time on Zero-G's G-Force One, Sept. 17, 2004. Jim Campbell/Aero-News Network/PR News Wire hide caption

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Jim Campbell/Aero-News Network/PR News Wire

Aviation pioneer Burt Rutan flies weightless for the first time on Zero-G's G-Force One, Sept. 17, 2004.

Jim Campbell/Aero-News Network/PR News Wire

Burt Rutan, founder and chief executive of the Mojave, Calif.-based aerospace research company Scaled Composites, made international headlines as the designer/developer of SpaceShipOne, the world's first privately built manned spacecraft to reach space.

He also designed the Voyager, which in 1989 became the first aircraft to circle the world non-stop without refueling. His Virgin GlobalFlyer later eclipsed Voyager's record time and became the first non-stop, solo flight around the world.