Odd couple aim to put civilians in space

One is a secretive aviation legend who made history by designing the first private manned rocket to reach space. The other is a publicity-savvy entrepreneur shooting to take his famous brand literally out of this world.

American engineer Burt Rutan and British tycoon Sir Richard Branson may seem like they come from different planets. Yet the improbable duo are in the same orbit — forming the Spaceship Co. in 2005 to launch ordinary people into space without government help.

“You have a billionaire funding a rebel inventor. Putting those two together makes perfect sense,” said space enthusiast Peter Diamandis, founder of the nonprofit X Prize Foundation, who has known both men for nearly a decade.

Source:  Associated Press

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