In the 19th century, there was a race to be the first to reach the North Pole. That quest was finally accomplished by Robert Peary in 1909. That expedition followed many others that were unsuccessful. In 1897, S. A. Andrée had the bright idea to just fly to the North Pole using the only available air vehicle of the time, a balloon. What could possibly go wrong? The three-man Arctic balloon expedition set off from Svalbard in July of that year, determined to bring glory to Sweden by reaching the North Pole. They were not seen again until 1933.