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It's ONLY Rocket Science: An Introduction in Plain English (Astronomers' Universe) 2008th Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0387753775
ISBN-10: 038775377X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

From the reviews:

"This is a book I’ve really mixed feelings about – it does what it sets out to do very well. And it does what it says on the tin. It’s a plain English introduction to rocket science. … I would highly recommend it if you want to absorb all the basic facts about rocketry and space travel." (Brian Clegg, PopularScience, June, 2008)

"Lucy Rogers’ book It’s Only Rocket Science: An Introduction in Plain English tries to demystify what is a notoriously complicated subject. … I have a feeling that students and young aerospace professionals will find this book useful. When they don’t quite understand what their lecturers are trying to tell them, Rogers will be there to help them out." (Piers Bizony, BBC Sky at Night, September, 2008)

"The term ‘rocket science’ implies that one needs a very sophisticated level of technological and scientific knowledge to understand the principles of this field. However, Rogers (Isle of Wight, UK) attempts to explain these seemingly complex phenomena in relatively simple terms, i.e., without reference to mathematics. … Rogers does a good job in explaining … topics in accessible language. The chapters include line drawings and half-tone and color photographs; technical appendixes and a glossary augment the text. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers." (J. Z. Kiss, CHOICE, Vol. 46 (01), September, 2008)

From the Back Cover

"Well, it’s not rocket science, is it?"

How many times have you heard people use that expression when they mean something pretty simple? There are other areas of science and technology that are arguably more challenging than rocket science, but no other (perhaps apart from brain surgery) has entered mainstream English vocabulary as a byword for ‘difficult’.

But ‘hard to understand’ isn’t the same as ‘impossible to understand’, as Dr Lucy Rogers – who is herself currently working as a rocket scientist – shows in this book.

She describes, in everyday terms and entirely without complex math, just what is involved in launching something into space, to explore the universe beyond our small planet. If you want to understand the fundamentals of space flight, from how to leave the Earth – including the design of the rocket and vehicle, mission planning, navigation and communication – to life in space and the effects of weightlessness, begin your journey here.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2008 edition (March 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038775377X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387753775
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rebecca on May 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
A great, easy read that is full of information but broken down so the casual reader can truly understand what goes into launches, orbits, and rocket design. A bonus chapter on new ideas for the future of space. A great, helpful read and certainly a wonderful reference tool!
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I haven't finished reading this yet, but the first third that I have gotten through has been really helpful. I'm new to a lot of what goes into space flight but not the physics and this book has been very thorough and informative.
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I was thinking a rocket science book would be full of mathematics and equations. This book has none. So if you were looking for a book to help you work through astrodynamic equations look somewhere else, of course that tells you nothing about the book itself...

The book claims to be in 'Plain English' and in that it delivers. It explains a lot about the history, challenges, and solutions of space exploration and does so in a concise easy to understand way and I learned quite a bit that I probably wouldn't have learned from a book focusing on equations. However, the information is presented in a rather jumbled format, it seems that some information is in the wrong place or laid out in the wrong order, and in certain instances I wonder if what the author is saying is actual space industry standards or if it just her way of explaining things (e.g. the steps to get a rocket from launch pad to orbit and the seven basic elements of all space missions). There are also very few pictures or tables to reference, which could help people visualize concepts in a book like this.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm very glad I read this book and I'm grateful for the information inside, I just wish it were a bit more polished.
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Dr. Rogers clearly knows her stuff, but you'll have a hard time learning it from her because the book is presented in prose format rather than employing any instructional design techniques -- no bullets, no bolding of key terms, and the graphics are very pixellated. So you essentially have, save for an occasional table or graphic, a sea of text without much visual relief. There is a glossary in the back as well as an index; I will give her credit for that. Plus, she is from the UK, so American readers will get distracted a bit by the British spellings and phrasing/usage. I am a technical writer who wants to learn more about the aerospace field, but I've had this book about a year now, am not quite halfway through it, and have no motivation to pick it up to finish it. There is good information here, but I just don't have the energy to force myself through that much highlighting...
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