ST. LOUIS -- Miles above the Earth in his latest quest to be the first solo balloonist to circle the globe, Steve Fossett knows he has fans in the highest of places. An e-mail from a fellow tycoon who is no stranger to flying proves it.
"Our family is following your progress day by day," Richard Branson, the Virgin empire billionaire, wrote Sunday to his millionaire pal miles above the South Pacific.
"Half of me wishes I'd stowed away in your balloon. But the other half knows that there is only one person in this world capable of what you are attempting -- and that is you."
In December 1998, Branson joined Fossett and Sweden's Per Lindstrand in what then was a bid to make the first nonstop around-the-world balloon flight. The adventurers made it seven days and 12,404 miles before ditching in shark-infested waters off Hawaii a little more than halfway through their journey.
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