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How to Make a Spaceship Audiobook

How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight

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Publisher's Summary

The historic race that reawakened the promise of manned spaceflight.

Alone in a Spartan black cockpit, test pilot Mike Melvill rocketed toward space. He had 80 seconds to exceed the speed of sound and begin the climb to a target no civilian pilot had ever reached. He might not make it back alive. If he did, he would make history as the world's first commercial astronaut.

The spectacle defied reason, the result of a competition dreamed up by entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, whose vision for a new race to space required small teams to do what only the world's largest governments had done before.

Peter Diamandis was the son of hardworking immigrants who wanted their science prodigy to make the family proud and become a doctor. But from the age of eight, when he watched Apollo 11 land on the moon, his singular goal was to get to space. When he realized NASA was winding down manned space flight, Diamandis set out on one of the great entrepreneurial adventure stories of our time. If the government wouldn't send him to space, he would create a private space-flight industry himself.

In the 1990s this idea was the stuff of science fiction. Undaunted, Diamandis found inspiration in an unlikely place: the golden age of aviation. He discovered that Charles Lindbergh made his transatlantic flight to win a $25,000 prize. The flight made Lindbergh the most famous man on earth and galvanized the airline industry. Why, Diamandis thought, couldn't the same be done for space flight?

The story of the bullet-shaped SpaceShipOne and the other teams in the hunt is an extraordinary tale of making the impossible possible. It is driven by outsized characters - Burt Rutan, Richard Branson, John Carmack, Paul Allen - and obsessive pursuits. In the end, as Diamandis dreamed, the result wasn't just a victory for one team; it was the foundation for a new industry and a new age.

©2016 Julian Guthrie (P)2016 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (156 )
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  •  
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 09-28-16
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 09-28-16 Member Since 2017

    SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!

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    "A Fun and Thrilling Ride"

    I remember being itty bitty, waking up, wearing PJs, to watch all sorts of fantastical rocket launches. The memories are vague but fun.
    So I'm confounded that everything that happens in "How to Make a Spaceship" happened outside my awareness. Did Life really make me that distracted? What fun, then, to take this ride now, with all of the players, big dreamers, small dreamers, all oh so devoted.
    This is kind of like "Rocket Boys" meets "The Right Stuff". It follows the creation of a renewed drive to see space entered and goes along to the actual people who strove to make it happen. And all along the way were failures, which I found to be inspiring because people learned from them. They did NOT give up.
    Personalities are addressed, hopes, emotions. You're right there, thinking and living with the people. And the writing is superb: some writing reads like straight adventure, and some reads like poetry.
    Rob Shapiro does well; nonfiction is hard. But he gets into the grittier parts, breathes life into the parts where words are brushstrokes on a glorious stellar canvas. I dinged him a star, however, because I absolutely had to listen to this at x1.25; it was far too slow going at regular speed. Otherwise, good job.
    Wonderful people, lyrical, edge-of-your-seat writing. Only Richard Branson earns the occasional eye roll. I enjoyed every minute, didn't feel the sixteen hours at all. Plus, the epilogue/where-are-they-now was fantastic to hear

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William H. Warfield 03-26-17 Member Since 2014
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    "How to make a Spaceship"

    Lot of information about private spacecraft and space came about. Interesting connection to the Lindbergh name.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Raymon A Smith 03-08-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Inspires a desire to chase the impossible!"

    The book has inspired me to focus and chase my dreams. I would highly recommend others who are interested in space, technology, or being part of something great to read this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dann Los Angeles, CA, United States 03-05-17
    Dann Los Angeles, CA, United States 03-05-17 Member Since 2009

    My preference for a good story is something totally unusual and not run of the mill stuff. Give me something I haven't heard before.

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    "LOVED IT!"

    But then again I'm a space buff. New challenges, new minds with new technologies bubbling up every day. Yes the government can do it, going to space, but now it's the private sector's chance to show their ingenuity. There's fresh ideas, new money and there is no limit. Old money, old ideas, stand aside. There's new minds in town with loads of capital to get us to space. With little red tape we've made it to space as citizens. We've broken the barrier of large government run organizations and ventured out into the black as privateers. What a thing to witness!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOSE M. 03-04-17
    JOSE M. 03-04-17
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    "The stories of each individual are inspiring!"

    love it! I recommend this book/audio to anyone who needs or wants inspiration. well written and narrated!...I would love to meet Peter Diamandis and the gang.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-08-17 Member Since 2016
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    "This is my history!"
    What did you love best about How to Make a Spaceship?

    This is my history, my experience, and my dreams. The story told here rekindled the excitement and awe that I experienced growing up in the Space Age. I watched the fist landing on the Moon. I traveled with astronauts who became aquanauts. I've carefully followed the development of the Civilian Space Program. This was a fun read, a great listen. Hearing some of the background stories that underpinned these crazy and heroic efforts was enthralling. Great story Mr. Guthrie.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Make a Spaceship?

    Having my memory tapped for times and places in my own life that connected to the events in this story created many memorable moments. I hardly remember my commute over that last two weeks.


    What about Rob Shapiro’s performance did you like?

    Rob Shapiro is just a great reader. Rob is the gold standard for story narration. When I need a new book I usually start by seeing if he has done the reading.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. J. Batz Houston, TX 10-06-16
    C. J. Batz Houston, TX 10-06-16 Member Since 2013

    thirdriver reader

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    "The most inspiring story!"

    I'm now looking into getting my private pilot license and must have followed a couple dozen Twitter accounts from this book. The narration was engaging, the story rapturous & I'm a kid all over again be holding the great space race. Get it and dream !

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-19-16 Member Since 2010
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    "Boring"
    What disappointed you about How to Make a Spaceship?

    The story is billed as an epic tale of launching the first private spaceship. In reality the 4 hours of the book I was able to get through went into painstaking detail about the childhoods of the people involved. None of the tales are relevant and served only to build up the men as some sort of paragons of virtue.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Rob Shapiro’s performances?

    Absolutely not. He is by far the worst narrator I've come across. He takes frequent unnecessary pauses and over dramatizes the text.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from How to Make a Spaceship?

    The first half of the book. Or two thirds. Basically anything that didn't talk about getting space ship one off the ground.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Christensen 11-18-16
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    "A Story that Has to be Told"
    Would you listen to How to Make a Spaceship again? Why?

    Yes but only portions regarding Ruttan and the Xprize flights. Many chapters could have been shorter with less detail.


    Would you recommend How to Make a Spaceship to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yrs especially if they are space geeks.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    At times it book brought tears of of joy and laughter.


    Any additional comments?

    I have been lucky to see the science fiction regarding man in space and on the moon become a reality. This book documents a milestone. A little more focus on the story and less biography would have raised my rating.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joy Erickson 11-17-16
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    "If you love space ..."

    If you love space (sci-fi or reality), this book is a major inspiration. Loved it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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