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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

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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!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    07-24-17
    07-24-17
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    "A great story about our most important next step..."

    We saw mankind take steps on the moon and were filled with hope. Decades later, so little had been done to further our legacy.

    This is a great story, well told, about the next chapter in space flight which, it appears, will either be private enterprise or the Chinese.

    If this subject interests you, "The Case for Mars" by Zubrin is a fantastic, educational and thought-provoking book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul J. Prusa Omaha, NE 06-21-17
    Paul J. Prusa Omaha, NE 06-21-17 Member Since 2016

    Senior Data Scientist for large Midwestern Hospital fascinated with the impact technology is having on our lives.

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    "This would be a great story as fiction."

    it happened. a great story of dreams come true. and a great cast of characters making impossible happen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-18-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Where science fiction becomes reality"

    Wow! Must read for any person who even remotely likes the idea of space travel. A real life science fiction come to life. Filled with amazing characters and the richest story. Wonderful writing and performance. Please read! Share with your children to inspire them !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alfred Cedarburg, WI, United States 05-21-17
    Alfred Cedarburg, WI, United States 05-21-17 Member Since 2010
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    "Good Story but a Little Too Dramatic"

    The story itself is very interesting. The narrator's performance was good too.

    The author over did it a little, trying to build drama around the personal struggles of some of the protagonists.

    I still recommend it to readers that are interested in space.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Mill Valley, CA, United States 04-12-17
    Matthew Mill Valley, CA, United States 04-12-17 Member Since 2012
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    "Just incredible!"
    What made the experience of listening to How to Make a Spaceship the most enjoyable?

    The author does a wonderful job of telling an exciting, riveting story that inspires the reader to seek out their dream. It is impossible not to be inspired by the disparate cast of characters who are described in this book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Warf 03-26-17
    Warf 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
  •  
    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

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