Aerospace engineer and entrepreneur Burt Rutan spoke on space innovation and exploration at a forum hosted by the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville and the University of North Florida.
He discussed the history of manned spaceflight and contrasted today’s space program to the pioneering days of space travel.
Rutan is the designer of “SpaceShipOne” which launched the era of commercial space travel. He also designed the Voyager aircraft, which became the first airplane to fly nonstop around the world without refueling in 1986.
Rutan is currently working with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen on a new project known as the Stratolaunch. It's part airplane and part spaceship and scheduled to fly by 2016.