Up, Up and...Uh, Oh!

Rutan and Melton (1) as well as Fossett were foiled last week. But two more tries to circle the globe, including another by Branson, are coming up. What's going on here? A ballooning history:

On Sept. 19, 1783, at Versailles, the first aeronauts--a sheep, a rooster and a duck--take to the sky in the Montgolfier brothers' hot-air balloon. On Nov. 21, Jean Francois Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes drift over Paris in a Montgolfier, achieving the first manned free flight (2). Asked what good are balloons, U.S. envoy Ben Franklin replies, "What good is a newborn baby?" The English...

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