Aerospace Entrepreneur and Virgin Galactic Spacecraft Designer

Burt Rutan

About the Speaker

Aerospace entrepreneur, Virgin Galactic spacecraft designer, and founder of aerospace research firm Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan was described by Newsweek as “the man responsible for more innovations in modern aviation than any living engineer.” A bold visionary with a passion for the advancement of technology, he was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Inc. magazine and one of “the world’s 100
most influential people” by TIME.

Rutan designed the legendary Voyager, the first aircraft to circle the world nonstop without refueling. SpaceShipOne, the world’s first privately funded spacecraft, won the $10 million Ansari X Prize, created to spur the development of affordable space tourism.
In a joint venture with Virgin’s Richard Branson, Rutan formed “The Spaceship Company” to manufacture and market spaceships for the new commercial space-flight industry. In 2011 he retired from Scaled Composites as Chief Technical Officer, and now assumes the title of founder and Chairman Emeritus.

Rutan is currently working with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen on a new project, the Stratolaunch - part airplane, part spaceship - scheduled to fly by 2016.

In 2004 The Spaceship Company launched Virgin Galactic, the world's first commercial spaceline. So far Virgin Galactic has contracted five SpaceShipTwo tourist spacecrafts and two White Knight Two motherships to the paying public, along with suborbital to provide sub-orbital spaceflightsspace science missions and orbital launches of small satellites.

Rutan believes that the best ideas come from the collaborative efforts of small, closelyknit project teams and an environment not limited by adversity to risk. He inspires audiences with his vision on creativity, innovation and managers’ tasks to motivate a creative team. Rutan was profiled by 60 Minutes and featured on the covers of both LIFE and TIME. Recently, author Dan Linehan chronicled Rutan's groundbreaking ideas and designs up to the present in his 2011 book, Burt Rutan's Race To Space: The Magician of Mojave and His Flying Innovation.