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Wednesday, February 17, 1999 Published at 10:44 GMT

Special report: Aviation's last great challenge

It is the world's last great aeronautical prize: To circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon. Until 20 March 1999, the goal had eluded everyone. In this special report BBC News Online brings you an in-depth look at both the balloonists and ballooning.

Orbiter 3 - Ups and Downs
Read how BBC News Online plotted the progress of the first round-the-world balloon journey.

Sky-high hopes
Take a look at the teams who competed to be first past this milestone.

[ image: Breitling Orbiter 3: Top of the world]
Breitling Orbiter 3: Top of the world
Health at 20,000ft
Bertrand Piccard in the Breilting Orbiter is said to have used self-hypnosis to get to sleep. Our health team look at what enduring a record-breaking flight can do to your health.

Life inside the balloon
You need to be made of the right stuff to get on board a global balloon - and last the psychological distance.

Making history in a balloon
For more than 200 years balloonists have gone up, up and away making history.

Flying through the ages
People have been finding ways to navigate the sky for several hundred years.

Balloon Websites go up
Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall gives you the lowdown on the teams' Internet sites.

The driving force
What makes them do it? Is there a prize? And what are the rules of the game?

Flights of fancy - for you?
If you are inspired by these adventurers, ballooning might not be as expensive as you think.

Elson and Prescot answer your questions
Before their attempt ended in failure over Japan, the Cable and Wireless team told you all you needed to know about smashing the endurance record to taking a walk outside the capsule.

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Internet Links

Team Remax

International Aviation Federation - Ballooning Commission

Ballooning News

Breitling Orbiter 3

J Renee

Cable and Wireless balloon

ICO Global

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In this section

Balloonists: Next stop Geneva

Stranded balloonists rescued

Desert touchdown for balloon heroes

News Online users cheer record balloonists

Balloonists soar into history

Sky-high hopes

Balloons make history

Ballooning's 'triumph of a dream'