Burt Rutan is a national treasure. Scratch that. Burt Rutan is a global treasure.
Rutan, the designer of the Voyager aircraft that circumnavigated the world on a single tank of gas.
His most recent project at Scaled Composites is an attempt to with the X Prize, and has once again come up with a very innovative design. In their most recent test flight, SpaceShip One became the first private non-government vehicle to break the sound barrier, on a short (15 second motor burn) that took it to Mach 1.2 (930 MPH) and 68,000 feet.
The press release is here.