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Deep Space Craft: An Overview of Interplanetary Flight (Springer Praxis Books / Astronautical Engineering) [Hardcover]

by Dave Doody
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2, 2009 3540895094 978-3540895091 2009

Deep Space Craft opens the door to interplanetary flight. It looks at this world from the vantage point of real operations on a specific mission, and follows a natural trail from the day-to-day working of this particular spacecraft, through the functioning of all spacecraft to the collaboration of the various disciplines to produce the results for which a spacecraft is designed. These results are of course mostly of a scientific nature, although a small number of interplanetary missions are also flown primarily to test and prove new engineering techniques. The author shows how, in order to make sense of all the scientific data coming back to Earth, the need for experiments and instrumentation arises, and follows the design and construction of the instruments through to their placement and testing on a spacecraft prior to launch. Examples are given of the interaction between an instrument’s science team and the mission’s flight team to plan and specify observations, gather and analyze data in flight, and finally present the results and discoveries to the scientific community.

This highly focused, insider’s guide to interplanetary space exploration uses many examples of previous and current endeavors. It will enable the reader to research almost any topic related to spacecraft and to seek the latest scientific findings, the newest emerging technologies, or the current status of a favorite flight. In order to provide easy paths from the general to the specific, the text constantly refers to the Appendices. Within the main text, the intent is general familiarization and categorization of spacecraft and instruments at a high level, to provide a mental framework to place in context and understand any spacecraft and any instrument encountered in the reader’s experience.

Appendix A gives illustrated descriptions of many interplanetary spacecraft, some earth-orbiters and ground facilities to reinforce the classification framework. Appendix B contains illustrated detailed descriptions of a dozen scientific instruments, including some ground-breaking engineering appliances that have either already been in operation or are poised for flight. Each instrument’s range of sensitivity in wavelengths of light, etc, and its physical principle(s) of operation is described. Appendix C has a few annotated illustrations to clarify the nomenclature of regions and structures in the solar system and the planets’ ring systems, and places the solar system in context with the local interstellar environment.

Editorial Reviews


From the reviews: “This book by Doody … covers many topics related to spacecraft for interplanetary missions. … The appendixes contain valuable and interesting databases of existing typical spacecraft and scientific instruments. The material in this work will be of interest to undergraduate students in aerospace engineering, engineering physics, and applied physics, as well as practitioners interested in an overview of deep space missions and scientific instruments for space exploration. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, professionals/practitioners, and general readers.” (Y. J. Crispin, Choice, Vol. 47 (3), November, 2009)

From the Back Cover

This book opens the door to the intriguing world of interplanetary flight. It provides a highly focused, insider’s view of current and recent interplanetary space exploration, describing all the different aspects of the many individual space-exploring machines that operate throughout our Solar System. The book:

  • Illuminates the ‘science pipeline’, enabling readers to follow any specific interplanetary mission(s) and access the science datastream;
  • Covers concisely the space-related fields of specialization and how they interrelate in interplanetary flight;
  • Provides an insider’s guide of what is involved in the conduct of robotic interplanetary mission;
  • Gives a snapshot of what has been going on in interplanetary flight in the last 25 years of the Space age.

Deep Space Craft shows how, in order to make sense of all the scientific data coming back to Earth, the need for experiments and instrumentation arises, and follows the design and construction of the instruments through to their placement and testing on a spacecraft prior to launch. Examples are given of the interaction between an instrument’s science team and the mission’s flight team to plan and specify observations, gather and analyze data in flight, and finally present the results and discoveries to the scientific community.

Product Details

  • Series: Springer Praxis Books / Astronautical Engineering
  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2009 edition (April 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3540895094
  • ISBN-13: 978-3540895091
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,567,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dave Doody came to Pasadena, California from Catalina Island off the coast, and started working with JPL's Deep Space Network in 1982. He then joined the flight team operating Voyager-1 and -2 in the outer solar system three years later. After then serving as a member of the Venus-mapping Magellan flight team, Dave joined the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan in 1994, three years before launch. He is currently the Flight Operations Lead Engineer for Cassini's Mission Support and Services Office. Dave is on the faculty of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, teaching a Public Programs evening course on the Basics of Interplanetary Flight. Prior to working on Catalina Island as a systems engineer (while living aboard a sailboat), commercial pilot Dave was an instructor with Japan Air Lines. Always eager to share the excitement of interplanetary exploration, Dave wrote and maintains the "Basics of Space Flight" tutorial website at JPL, A few times a year you might find him playing "sidewalk astronomer" in Old Town Pasadena, offering free views of planets to passers-by, despite the street lights.

Customer Reviews

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From The Planetary Report: October 18, 2010
Deep Space Craft is a textbook - a very well-written and enjoyable one - full of technical information, background material, history, examples of interplanetary spacecraft and mission design, equations, spectral graphs, and charts.

It is not light reading, but if you want to learn or understand more about the design of missions and their spacecraft, this book is excellent. It draws on the author's long involvement and practical experience at JPL. Although the material is indeed technical, the book is written in understandable fashion. Doody plows through such subjects as navigating and controlling spacecraft, communications, propulsion, data handling, and then all of the science instruments that represent the spacecraft payload and raison d'etre.

The book will have value for students and and aerospace engineers both as a text and as a reference and will be valuable to interested amateurs who want to delve deeply into explanations of such questions as "What does autonomous navigation mean?", "How do you calculate how much data a spacecraft can send?", or even "What is rocket science, anyway?". The many examples from deep-space missions, including Voyager, Galileo, Deep Impact, Mars missions, and Cassini, enrich the discussion and provide context and history for planetary exploration.

Foreword by Mars-rover principal scientist Steve Squyres.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughts of a Happy Reader August 17, 2012
By radar
The late Carl Sagan reminded us often that we were the luckiest people who ever lived. Why we? During our lifetimes, Carl said, the Solar System became accessible to the direct scrutiny; we were the fortunate witnesses and participants, we were the first ones for whom the dots of light in the sky turned into the full-fledged worlds.

Books about the exploration of the Solar System get written by journalists who, standing apart from the enterprise they cover, mostly repackage the received second-hand information, or by academics laboring under the cloud of the well-known "publish or perish" admonition. Doody, a seasoned JPL engineer, belongs to neither of the two categories. Under no obligation to write, he has created an enthusiastic first-hand survey of the blessed scrutiny Sagan had in mind, and in the process explained the tortuous way of turning the shining celestial dots into the melancholic planetary landscapes.

Just about everything one wished to know about the robotic space flights but had no one to ask is in the book. The text provides the insight demonstrating robotic exploration is not easy magic, but tremendous collective efforts of extraordinarily diverse and talented people. The engineering background of the exploration--tracking, navigation, spacecraft subsystems, mission definition, instrument selection, mission organization, etc.--all is there in the book, and some more. Doody mentions that in writing he had "the young student deciding on a carrer path" in mind. No question that a young student would profit from reading the book. So would a middle-aged layman and an old veteran who himself/herself has a few space missions under his/her belt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insider view of unmanned spaceflight June 25, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've been deeply interested in space flight since I was a kid back in the Gemini/Apollo era, and although I haven't worked in the field (I'm an optical engineer), I have pursued this interest as an adult with software space flight simulators and as a JPL Solar System Ambassador (a non-employee volunteer educational outreach program). Dave Doody has worked at JPL on various aspects of interplanetary space missions for many years. He is a deep insider with the ability to break down this complex business into readable prose. There is a lot of technical detail in this textbook, but also some great scene-setting anecdotes. Preparing a spacecraft to operate in the vastness of space for many years is a tough job requiring enormous contingency planning and extreme attention to detail. Its only connection to Earth will be a radio signal with less power than a bedroom nightlight. There are many, many subsystems, all of which must work well in extreme vacuum and cold. I thought I knew a lot about spacecraft, but this book is teaching me new respect for the fact that real spaceflight is possible at all! A wonderful book.
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