Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Space Flight” as Want to Read:
How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Space Flight
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Space Flight

by
4.17  ·  Rating details ·  529 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
How a historic race gave birth to private space flight
 
Alone in a Spartan black cockpit, test pilot Mike Melvill rocketed toward space. He had eighty seconds to exceed the speed of sound and begin the climb to a target no civilian pilot had ever reached. There was a chance he would not come back alive. If he did, he would make history as the world’s first commercial astr
...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by Penguin Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How to Make a Spaceship, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How to Make a Spaceship

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Steven
Sep 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
An interesting read about the characters and drama behind the Xprize, highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the present and future of commercial space travel. Almost a 4* but I wasn't a big fan of the writing style and it could easily have been 100 pages shorter.
Rama
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An odyssey to encourage and promote privately financed space exploration

This is an outstanding story of a few who dreamed big and remained focused in putting a private spacecraft into the space. This was a big dream when it was first thought, but the efforts and persistence of an individual like Peter Diamandis made this dream a reality. Author Julian Guthrie has done a fascinating job of documenting everything associated with this adventure. There is suspense, drama, initial setbacks and final
...more
Rusty
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t have an overwhelming number of thoughts about this book. It served as part history of the X-Prize (the $10 million cash prize for the first private group to get a piloted ship into sub-orbital space flight twice within 7 days) and part biography of the founder of the prize.

I’ve always been a fan of spaceflight, but my knowledge specifically has been the history of NASA up until the beginning of the shuttle era – and a little bit about the old Soviet program up until they quit seriously
...more
Alex Givant
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tts, best-of-2017
Я поражен упорством и целеустремленностью людей, о которых написана эта книга! Рекомендую читать всем - настолько захватывающее чтение, что нельзя оторваться.
Roger Misso
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Only 4 stars because I thought the writing could have been a bit tighter. The story, however, is awesome!
Vojtech
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While this book certainly has interesting moments, most of the time it was a chore to get through. It just seems like it talks about so many different people who, in the overall scheme of things, were not all that important. I know I could not bring myself to care about them, as harsh as it sounds. The final third of the book, which mostly centers on the Spaceship One team was for me the most enjoyable and it is where the book picks up it's pace again. Bottom line is: I would not recommend this ...more
Jenn
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-won
I won this book.

The book was really fascinating. Guthrie does a good job of describing everything from the beginning of space travel and NASA, all the way up to where we are today - missions and crafts independent from the Government. If you know a space nut, go buy this book for them. Overall a really neat read.
Pete
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race and the Birth of Private Space Flight (2016) by Julian Guthrie is all about the creation of the X-Prize, the groups that entered, the people involved and the group who won.

Peter Diamandis established Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) while studying molecular genetics at MIT. He then went to Harvard Medical School to get an MD but still pursed his space dreams. He paused his medical studies to get a Master's in
...more
donna
I picked up this book because of the Lindbergh family connection. Erik and Morgan Lindbergh, grandsons of Charles, became involved in the X Prize after the founder (and star of this book, Peter Diamandis) was inspired by reading Lindbergh's autobiography, The Spirit of St. Louis. It was a contest that had inspired Lindbergh to attempt his historic transatlantic flight and Diamandis realized this would also be a great way to inspire innovation in space flight.

There were so many other interesting
...more
ErsatzCulture
Good, although I feel it would have been better with a tighter focus on certain areas.

The best parts for me were those about Burt Rutan and the Scaled Composites team; this comprises most of the final third of the book, and several chapters earlier on. Occasional chapters on other
competitors for the XPrize in the first two thirds are also decemt, although we never get any insight as to how serious or viable their approaches were.

The Peter Diamandis stuff - at least every other chapter in the fir
...more
Joy Kaur
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Genre: Nonfiction
Type: Biography
Part of a series: Yes/ No
Reading level: High School or Mature
Grade: 10th grade

Synopsis: The book follows many different people starting from Peter Diamandis reaching towards their dreams of space exploration. Peter Diamandis had a long time dream of being an astronaut but realized that NASA wasn't acting upon the budget they were given and he would have to get to space without their help. He got in touch with many other innovative engineers and many historical f
...more
Munthir Mahir
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A riveting journey through what it might take to successfully bet against every odd there is. I believe it is one of the rarest chances there are to be purviewed and be able to document people and events that are in true sense revolutionary. Achieving private space flight is the point and marker of the beginning of a possible realization of far-distance exploration and colonization - economics in my opinion was the last true barrier to opening up space and that now has been breached. Not to take ...more
Prafful Sahu
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favourite personality/entrepreneur's story was amazing and mind blowing. Its just amazing to read about how he balanced his obligations without giving up his dream. He indeed is a true genius and extremely hard working individual. The book is written really well, you will feel connected with each of the individuals who played such important roles in getting it all together. I am really astounded by how Peter managed to do so many things so well. I would really recommend this b ...more
AJ
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about the privatization of the space industry. There's nothing like capitalism to make things accessible only to the super wealthy. I know that our country isn't really a meritocracy, but NASA just seems a little more fair to me than something that only benefits people with a ton of money. I also hold no faith in libertarian ideals. Generally only white men who privilege from our current system think that libertarianism is a good idea, and that description fits most of the ...more
John
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Even if you aren't an aviation fan, the author's storytelling skills are impressive - you have to keep telling yourself this is non-fiction! The details that she includes in the story add great texture to the tale. The perseverance of Peter Diamandis is almost diabolical, but in the end, he moved heaven and earth to make the XPRIZE happen. The history of Burt Rutan and the "inside baseball" details about Scaled Composites made this a really intriguing read. I've already recommended it to friends ...more
Dan Korth
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really well done and inspirational book detailing one of the most bold and exciting technological achievements of the new century. In a period where so much has gone wrong the X-Prize stands out as a major and significant event that went right. One that has spawned a new industry, challenged humanity to create the future. As an engineer I found this book to be incredibly motivational and one that's made me question whether I am spending my time and using my skills to develop technologi ...more
Chris
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I give this book 4 stars because the story of the X Prize and SpaceShipOne was fascinating and important. I wasn’t really paying attention when this happened in the early 2000s. I didn’t realize how important SpaceshipOne was and how many firsts it achieved. I really enjoyed this book for the education it brought to the topic.

The only negative for me was there was a lot of character biography about a lot of people related to the story that just didn’t add to the goal of the book. I listened to
...more
Katie
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
The beginning story about Peter Diamandis was interesting and the end was an exciting read, but the middle of the book was very hard to get through. There were too many details about too many people - many of them I felt were not as important to the overall story. It was disappointing that it was such a hard read, as I was very excited for the space topic! I feel that the book could have been much shorter (by having fewer people/details) and it would have been great!
Zuzka Namu Jakubkova
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There are many books on history of space discovery, but How To Make a Spaceship provides the reader with something more than just listing of facts and dates: it inspires.

Story of first steps into commercial space flight focuses on the heroes of first crossing through Karman line and subsequent safe landing by a non-governmental entity - both engineers and pilots. I'm properly pumped for all other books about human travel in space.
Clint
I’m enraptured with idea of humanity getting back into the space game; especially if the goal is Mars. All the Right Stuff is one of my favorite stories, regardless if we are speaking of the book or the movie.

This is the story of entrepreneurs in the private sector attempting to revitalize the space program. Definitely worth a read, or a listen. I consumed this as an audiobook and enjoyed it.

Recommend
Jason Lin
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Guthrie provides interesting insight into the incipient commercial spaceflight industry, and captures the grit and genius of Peter Diamandis and his team. Guthrie's book is packed full of content and details. However, I did not appreciate the way the book was written -- Diamandis's quest is described in the fashion of a novel, which detracted from the historical and real aspect of the book. The book also contains some unnecessary details. All in all, a worthy read.
Richard
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is like a 400+ page book that easily could have been 600 or so - why ? For starters, the font size was like 10. Not too many books with that font size and size 12 should be the norm. Too much detail, I don't need to know all about the major players, etc. Just condense it so that I can chew and digest this novel instead of regurgitating it out. Never got finished reading this, just briefly read some of the chapters that I was interested in. Too long. Too boring. My opinion.
Tim
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Lots of interesting information and great stories, but I felt it was pretty drawn out and was easy to put down and forget about it for weeks at a time. Overall a good history of the private space race, but was hoping for better overall storytelling. I would have liked the emphasis to stay more on Peter throughout the story rather than switching over so heavily on Burt. I believe he is real hero of this story, but lost some of the shine in the shadow of Scaled Composites/Virgin Galactic.
Jessica Avery
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has major motion picture written all over it! Steven Soderbergh or Quentin Tarantino? This is the kind of story that leaves you with the feeling that anything is possible. If you have an appreciation for entrepreneurship, aeronautics, rebellious spirits, big dreamers or plain old fashioned perseverance in the face of adversity, this book will surely spike a surge of serotonin. Very cool and inspirational story!
Alex Jeffries
Though I'm partial to a story about Peter Diamandis since I found his book Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World to be so powerful, this story by Julian Guthrie rounds out his launching of SpaceX with colorful profiles of international dreamers and builders racing to get to suborbital space (and to get a $10M prize) in a compelling, intimate way. The way she captured the second successful flight (spoilers? kind of? this happened over a decade ago, so there shouldn't be too many ...more
Valentijn
Waargebeurd verhaal over de X prize (een prijs voor de eerste particuliere ruimtevlucht). De eerste helf van de boek is wat saai, gaat voornamelijk over het leven van de bedenker van de prijs. Eénmaal dat voorbij is en de prijs in het leven is geroepen worden de teams die meedingen naar de prijs gevolgd, dan wordt het interessant.
Bjipson
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting to me, if not exactly fascinating. Guthrie focuses on Peter Diamandis, the main character behind the $10 million prize for the first non-governmental human-carrying rocket to reach space. Naturally several people and groups of people were competing, and I did learn a little about the challenges of building viable rockets. Definitely for our science kids...
Peter
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Journalistic account of the development of private space development. The author uses a $10 Million prize as a plot vehicle and relies a little too heavily on the prize's sponsor. Still, interesting story, accurately told, and nice details about some great characters.
David Rosage
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a fun and encouraging read. I loved seeing in action that if you set your eyes on a prize (space travel included) you can reach the stars (quite literally). This is a very motivating read but might make you question whether you are dreaming big enough.
Sarah
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-book, set-aside
I had high hopes for this book. The title made it sound fascinating. It could have been if it were condensed. I listened to the audiobook version and abandoned it at 3/4 of the way through. It goes into too much detail on what I feel are the less interesting aspects.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
21 followers
Julian Guthrie is a journalist with the San Francisco Chronicle, who has won numerous awards, including the Best of the West Award and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Public Service Award. Her feature writing and enterprise reporting have been nominated multiple times for the Pulitzer Prize.

Her articles have also been published by Salon.com, San Francisco Magazine, Forbes FYI and Conde Na
...more
“Progress depends on the unreasonable man.” 0 likes
More quotes…