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AOL News reported the story on July 4, 2002. Perhaps you remember. Steve Fossett, a Chicago millionaire, soared into the record books by becoming the first person to fly around the world in a hot air balloon solo. After beginning his voyage on June 19, 2002, in Western Australia, Fossett’s balloon touched down safely at dawn on July 4, 2002, on a rock-strewn plain in the Australian desert, about 870 miles northwest of Sydney. The record was set exactly 13 days, 12 hours, 16 minutes, and 13 seconds after the adventure began.

Although Fossett holds other world records in ballooning, sailing, and flying airplanes, his goal of circumnavigating the globe in a one-man balloon was not reached easily. Five previous attempts ended in bitter disappointment. He was almost killed during his fourth attempt in 1998, when his balloon was torn to shreds by lightning and plummeted 29,000 feet into the Coral Sea off Australia. His fifth attempt last year ended prematurely when he had to touch down because of severe weather and depleted oxygen supplies.

While meeting with the media following his feat, Fossett celebrated the "persistence of staying with [his goal]." He said, "It’s been six attempts before I’ve finally been successful; I think it is a very worthwhile objective.’’ Greg Asimakoupoulos, Preaching Today)

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