|In 2004 Rutan made international headlines as the designer of SpaceShipOne, the world's first privately-built manned spacecraft to reach space, and as winner of the $10 million X prize, the competition created to spur the development of affordable space tourism. "Manned space flight is not only for governments to do," says Rutan. "We proved it can be done by a small company operating with limited resources and a few dozen dedicated employees. The next 25 years will be a wild ride; one that history will note was done for everyone's benefit." He is currently working to develop and produce commercial spaceships for flying the public. In 15 years, Rutan predicts, "space tourism will be a multibillion-dollar business."
The exciting development and launch of SpaceShipOne, financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, was featured in two Peabody award-winning Discovery Channel documentaries, including "Black Sky: The Race for Space." A 60 Minutes profile, "Burt Rutan: An American Original," aired in November 2004 and has been re-aired twice by CBS.
Rutan designed the legendary Voyager, the first aircraft to circle the world non-stop, without refueling. He also developed the Ultralite, an all-composite 100mpg show car for GM, and the Proteus "affordable U-2" aircraft. His latest projects include the Virgin GlobalFlyer, which broke the Voyager's record time becoming the first non-stop, solo flight around the world.
The success of Scaled Composites owes itself to Rutan's philosophy that the best ideas come from the collaborative efforts of small, closely-knit project teams and an environment unlimited by adversity to risk. According to Aviation Week, Rutan is "a capable manager who has been able to attract technicians, pilots and workers who revel in the entrepreneurial and creative spirit existing at Scaled Composites."
Winner of the Presidential Citizen's Medal, the Charles A. Lindbergh Award, two Collier Trophies and included on Time magazine's "100 most influential people in the world", Rutan is the founder and CEO of Scaled Composites, the most aggressive aerospace research company in the world. Based in Mojave, CA, his company has developed and tested a variety of groundbreaking projects, from military aircraft to executive jets, showcasing some of the most innovative and energy-efficient designs ever flown.