How to Make a Spaceship

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How to Make a Spaceship
How to Make a Spaceship book cover.jpg
AuthorJulian Guthrie
Audio read byRob Shapiro
Working titleBeyond
PublisherPenguin Books, Random House
Publication date
September 2016
Media type
  • Hardcover
  • Softcover trade paperback
  • CD audiobook
  • Digital-file audiobook
  • Digital-file e-book
WebsiteHow to Make a Spaceship

How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, An Epic Race, And the Birth of Private Spaceflight (ISBN 978-1594206726) is a bestselling award-winning 2016 non-fiction book by journalist Julian Guthrie about the origins of the X Prize Foundation and Peter Diamandis, the first X Prize, the Ansari X Prize and Anousheh Ansari, the entrants into that suborbital spaceflight competition, and the winning team, Mojave Aerospace Ventures of Vulcan Inc., Paul G. Allen, Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan, and their platform of Tier One of SpaceShipOne and WhiteKnightOne.[1][2][3][4][5]


The book is an overview of what lead to the creation of the X Prize, and the running of that first X Prize. Profiles of all the major players in the X Prize saga are included in the book. It chronologically starts with the influences that weighed upon Peter Diamandis, and his progression into the space industry. It also covers the process to get funding, rejections, and the arrival of the Ansaris, becoming title sponsors. The book surveys several of the teams that entered into the competition to win the Ansari X Prize. The team that is focused on most is that which won the X Prize in 2004, the one headed by Paul Allen and Burt Rutan, of SpaceShipOne. The book ends with an epilogue about Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic scooping up the SpaceShipOne technology, and the spaceplane itself ending up in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The book includes a preface by Richard Branson, and an afterword by Stephen Hawking.[6][5][7][8][9][10]


The book was originally entitled Beyond: Peter Diamandis and the Adventure of Space, when it was sold preemptively to Penguin Books in 2014.[11] How to Make a Spaceship was released in September 2016, in trade paperback, hardcover, audio book and e-book formats.[1] The work was a finalist for a PEN Award, the 2017 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.[12][13][14] The publication won the 2016 Eugene E. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature in September 2017.[15][16] It became a New York Times listed bestseller.[2] The book has appeared on several "Best Of" book lists.[12] Several parties have expressed interest in obtaining the filming rights to the book.[17]


Gregg Easterbrook's review in the Wall Street Journal said of the book that “How to Make a Spaceship offers a rousing anthem to the urge to explore."[18]


  • Julian Guthrie (2016). How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0698405851. [3]

Awards and honors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "How to Make a Spaceship". Penguin Books Random House. 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Science - Best Sellers - November 2016". New York Times. 13 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b Julian Guthrie (2016). How to Make a Spaceship. Penguin Books.
  4. ^ Julian Guthrie (20 September 2016). "How Charles Lindbergh Inspired Private Spaceflight". Time Magazine.
  5. ^ a b Robert Schaefer. "How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight". New York Journal of Books.
  6. ^ Jeff Foust (3 October 2016). "Review: How to Make a Spaceship". The Space Review.
  7. ^ Ben Kieffer; Katherine Perkins (6 September 2017). "How to Make a Spaceship". IPR. Iowa Public Radio.
  8. ^ Zulfikar Abbany (8 December 2016). "How to make a spaceship and get 'off planet' with renegades and college-dropouts". Deutsche Welle.
  9. ^ Vivek Wadhwa (19 September 2016). "The renegade whose dream started the latest space race". Washington Post.
  10. ^ Tom Zoellner (6 October 2016). "'How to Make a Spaceship,' by Julian Guthrie". SFGate.
  11. ^ Andy Lewis (7 October 2014). "XPrize Space Race Story Gets Book Deal (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  12. ^ a b Anita Busch (25 July 2017). "Julian Guthrie Book 'Alpha Girls' Gets Scooped Up By Welle Entertainment After Bidding War".
  13. ^ a b "2017 PEN/E. O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD". PEN America. 2017.
  14. ^ a b "2017 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award Finalists Announced". E.O. Wilson Foundation. 20 January 2017.
  15. ^ a b Diane L. Thompson (8 September 2017). "Julian Guthrie Announced as Recipient of American Astronautical Society Emme Award" (PDF). American Astronautical Society (AAS).
  16. ^ a b Jim Way (14 September 2017). "Emme and Ordway Award Winners Announced". American Astronautical Society (AAS).
  17. ^ "Come on Hollywood, Give Us an X Prize Movie Already". Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy. Episode 221. Wired Magazine. 16 September 2016.
  18. ^ Gregg Easterbrook (16 September 2016). "'How to Make a Spaceship' Takes on the Birth of the Second Space Age". Gregg Easterbrook review. The Wall Street Journal.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]