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There is a Chinese legend that tells of an official called Wan-Hu, who assembled a rocket-powered flying chair in about the 16th century. He attached 47 fire-arrow rockets to two large kites and a wicker chair. He thought it would propel him into space. He sat in the chair, and his 47 assistants each lit a rocket. There was a huge roar and clouds of billowing smoke. When the smoke cleared, the chair and Wan-Hu were gone.
(a 18 anni..) After successfully testing one of his engine designs, he decided it was time for a proper adventure. He strapped the engine to the back of a custom-built bicycle, dressed himself in a red jumpsuit and white helmet, and fired up a trial run in a local parking lot. Leaning forward in a near-prone position, he managed to reach about 90 miles an hour. To slow himself down, he first sat upright, allowing wind resistance to do some of the work lest the brake pads or wheels melt. “Only a few people on the planet have put their legs inside a rocket,” Beck says. “It’s a very good feeling.”
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