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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 (88 )
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  •  
    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 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 09-28-16
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 09-28-16 Member Since 2016

    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

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Christensen 11-18-16 Member Since 2012
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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 0 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 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Twang 11-13-16
    Twang 11-13-16

    Yet Reader

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    "Wow!!"

    Clear your calendar.
    Even if you have zero interest in aviation, spaceflight or history you will want no distractions while absorbing this read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rodrigo Vázquez 10-31-16
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    "Only the last third deals with building a rocket"

    I was disappointed with the story. The first two thirds of the book are spent on the protagonists' childhood and early adulthood, when they weren't even trying to get to space. This made the book long and boring. Although the last third delivers what the title promises and was a very enjoyable listen, I wouldn't recommend this book without the warning that you'll spend +10 hours with little relating to getting to space

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 10-31-16 Member Since 2016
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    "A motivational story on X Prize"

    This story will help the next generation of people have a bigger place in there hearts for Space Exploration and technology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Richard Delta, UT, United States 10-26-16
    Richard Delta, UT, United States 10-26-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Who is John Galt?"

    A fair story but it seems there is an ax to grind, Who is John Galt? NASA had different goals than Space Ship One founder along with others involved in their program. Dick Dziuk

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 10-25-16
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 10-25-16 Member Since 2010
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    "well researched and well told"

    This book did a super job laying out how difficult it is to get into space. Between the technology, personalities and politics, the book was quite a ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    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 2 people found this review helpful

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