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The hot-air balloon was invented by Joseph-Michel Montgolfier (1740–1810) and his brother Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier (1745–1799), who were French paper makers. They launched their balloon on June 5, 1783, in Annonay, France. Their invention, which was filled with heated air, ascended for about ten minutes. Three months later they sent a duck, a sheep, and a rooster up in a balloon. The success of this flight prompted them to attempt a human launching. In October 1783, the French scientist Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier (1756–1785) became the first person to make a balloon ascent, though it was tied down for safety. The next month he was one of two men to make the first free flight in a hot-air balloon, ascending to a height of about 300 feet (984 meters) over Paris, France, on November 21, 1783, for twenty-five minutes.
Hot-air ballooning soon became a popular sport. In January 1785, balloonists successfully crossed the English Channel from Dover, England, to Calais, France. In the United States the first hot-air balloon was launched in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1793 before a crowd that included President George Washington (1732–1799).
Further Information:Airships History. [Online] Available http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/Lab/3580/history.html, November 8, 2000; A Brief History of Flight. [Online] Available http://www. geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/2519/flight.html, November 8, 2000.
The hot air balloon was invented by Joseph Michel Montgolfier.
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