It is with great sadness that we read on the Washington Post, SpaceShipOne designer is retiring. Burt Rutan, along with such giants as Kelly Johnson, stands as one of a very few who in the last 50 years has stretched the bounds of aviation and even suborbital space travel. He is an inspiration to engineers everywhere because he mixed elegance with technical excellence to produce innovative aircraft and spacecraft designs.
Scaled Composites is the developer of SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo. SpaceShipOne was the winner of the X-Prize as the first non-governmental rocket-plane to reach space. SpaceShipTwo, after flight tests are concluded, will be flying under Virgin Galactic. Both efforts were undertaken with private investment making Scaled Composites the first private commercial space company, and hopefully inspiring others to come.