5 Underrated Pioneers in Circumnavigation


Nicholas Kulish may have traveled the world unintentionally but others made a mission of circling the globe. Five trailblazers are below.

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg 2016

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Credit
Eugene Tanner/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Piccard, a Swiss psychiatrist who completed the first circumnavigation by hot air balloon, and Mr. Borschberg, a Swiss businessman and pilot, created the team behind the Solar Impulse airplane. They completed a multi-leg journey around the world without fuel. It was the first circumnavigation by solar plane.

Steve Fossett 2002 and 2005

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Credit
Shawn Thew/European Pressphoto Agency

Mr. Fossett, an American businessman-cum-adventurer, became the first person to complete a solo hot-air balloon flight around the world in 2002. His journey, from Australia and back again, took nearly two weeks and covered roughly 20,000 miles. Three years later, he made the first solo, nonstop flight around the world without refueling. That journey began and ended in Kansas and lasted 67 hours. He died in a plane crash in the Sierra Nevada in 2007.

Sally Ride 1983

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Sally Ride communicating with ground controllers during the six-day space mission of the Challenger in 1983.

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NASA, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Sally Ride became the first American woman to fly in space in June 1983, when she was an astronaut on the Challenger. Her inaugural mission lasted more than six days and traveled a distance of more than two million miles.

Hugo Eckener 1929

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Credit
The New York Times

Mr. Eckener, head of the Zeppelin airship company, flew the first aerial circumnavigation at the behest of William Randolph Hearst, who financed the trip. Among the passengers was a journalist, Lady Hay Drummond-Hay, who became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by air.

Jeanne Baret 1766 to 1775 (or so)

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Jeanne Baret became the first woman to circumnavigate the world by sea after disguising herself as a male assistant to the botanist Philibert Commerson to gain entry to a French naval ship. She had help: Commerson was her lover. After she was found out, the couple left the ship and settled in Mauritius, where they lived until Commerson’s death. Sometime afterward, Baret returned to France with a new husband, a French soldier.

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