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The Complete Book of Spaceflight: From Apollo 1 to Zero Gravity Hardcover – November 27, 2002

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 072-3812056491 ISBN-10: 0471056499 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

&this is as comprehensive as it gets& -- Focus, April 2003

"...Darling's content and presentation will have any reader moving from entry to entry..." -- The Observatory Magazine, October 2003

"...this is as comprehensive as it gets..." -- Focus, April 2003

"Darling's is the most current work available on this subject, and the detail it provides on satellite missions is notable" -- Library Journal, January 15, 2003

This one-volume encyclopedia divides its coverage of space flight into three areas: biographies of astronauts, rocket scientists, etc.; histories of manned and unmanned space missions; and the science and technology related to space flight. Darling, who has a Ph.D. in astronomy, has written several books on extraterrestrial life and cosmology. Although this volume offers a single source for comprehensive space flight information, its added value may be limited, as many libraries likely already own biographical resources (such as Michael Cassutt's Who's Who in Space), space-mission histories (such as Tim Furniss's The History of Space Vehicles), and science and technology references (such as the McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology). In addition, readers will find the cross references lacking. Many entries, such as "MECO," are entered under their acronym or initials, but there is no cross reference from the fun form, in this case "Main Engine Cut Off". In addition, entries for scientific terms are often inadequate. For example, "weightlessness" is a mere one paragraph, though one would expect much fuller treatment of such a major aspect of space flight. Despite these flaws, Darling's is the most current work available on this subject, and the detail it provides on satellite missions is notable. Wherever it doesn't duplicate existing references, this book is recommended for large academic and public libraries. Jeffrey Beall, Univ. of Colorado Lib., Denver (Library Journal, January 15, 2003)

"...this is as comprehensive as it gets..." (Focus, April 2003)

"...Darling's content and presentation will have any reader moving from entry to entry..." (The Observatory Magazine, October 2003)

From the Inside Flap

No less a figure than Albert Einstein once noted, "The human mind is not capable of grasping the universe," but this has not stopped humanity from trying. The Complete Book of Spaceflight spans the entire spectrum of space exploration, from the early musings of the ancient Greeks to a future in which warp drives and wormholes may provide us with the means for crossing the universe (if not finally grasping it). In this fully comprehensive reference, astronomer David Darling chronicles our open-ended journey into space, clearly explaining all key manned and unmanned missions and space vehicles-- past, present, and projected-- and the intricate technologies involved.

The Complete Book of Spaceflight provides more than just a catalog of technology and events. With more than 3,000 thoroughly cross-referenced entries, this book reveals the evolution of thought about space travel; the frequent interactions between science fiction and science fact; other forces that have spurred breakthroughs in rocketry-- notably military confrontations, Cold War politics, and national pride-- and the human characters and drama involved. Darling also explores a future where faster-than-light interstellar and interplanetary jaunts are the norm. Entries include:

aeolipile: Invented by Hero of Alexandria, this ancient device based on the action-reaction (rocket) principle used steam as a propulsive gas.

Baker: A female squirrel monkey, who, along with her companion Able, made the first suborbital flight from which live animals were recovered, on May 23, 1959.

Genesis: Launched August 8, 2001, this NASA mission will collect 10 to 20 micrograms of particles from the solar wind using high-purity wafers set in winglike arrays.

John Stapp: American pioneer of aerospace medicine, famous for his extreme rocket-sled experiments.

From the Earth to the Moon: A celebrated novel by Jules Verne in which a capsule containing three men and two dogs is blasted out of an immense cannon toward the Moon.

thrust chamber: The heart of all liquid propellant rocket engines. In its simplest form, the thrust chamber accepts propellant from the injector, burns it in the combustion chamber, accelerates the gaseous combustion products, and ejects them from the chamber to provide thrust.

Alcubierre Warp Drive: A notion for achieving faster-than-light travel suggested by physicist Miguel Alcubierre, spurred in part by Star Trek's fictional "warp drive."

The Complete Book of Spaceflight provides the clearest and most thorough overview of humankind's attempts to reach the stars. For the Earth-bound space fan, it's the next best thing to going there.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471056499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471056492
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fraser Cain on July 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Complete Book of Spaceflight by David Darling is exactly that, an encyclopedia of space exploration, from Apollo to zero gravity. I have to be honest though; I didn't read this book cover to cover. It's got 3,000 detailed listings in alphabetical order, so it's not exactly light reading material - imagine reading an encyclopedia. I have; however, been using it as a reference book for several months, and it's in that capacity that it really shines.
Darling clearly had the non-technical reader in mind when he wrote up his descriptions, as he steers well clear of jargon (in a jargon-laden industry), and I appreciate that he kept some descriptions very short. For spaceflight terms the book functions as a dictionary, and the explanations are kept to a few sentences. For other topics, the book functions more like an encyclopedia; in some cases several pages are dedicated to a single topic (Gemini Program, spacesuits, etc).
If Darling were standing in front of me, and asked me... "well, what do you think? Is it complete?" I'd have to say yes. It's complete. Everything that has anything to do with spaceflight is in there. I've found it useful to consult entries before writing up some of my own stories; especially if it's been several years since I last wrote about a subject (although some space agencies have great press material, many of the aerospace firms provide descriptions of their own programs drenched in marketing-speak).
Taking its cue from its encyclopedic parent, The Complete Book of Spaceflight is liberally sprinkled with photographs, sidebars and tables of information. Unfortunately, the pages are all black-and-white, so you don't get to see any of the images in colour.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
For many years I have been a spaceflight enthusiast, but was often disturbed by the lack of a general, easy to read reference book. For example, what if I had hear of the LDEF satellite being retrieved by the Shuttle? What if I had never heard of the LDEF satellite? A few years ago, I would have had to search many books and probably would not find it. Now I can just flip open this encyclopedia to L and in short order find a detailed summary about LDEF (which, by the way, stands for Long Duration Exposure Facility). If I read or see on TV the astronauts going on a Shuttle mission, how do I know who they are? Just look them up. If I hear about a deep-space probe launched by a Proton rocket, I can look up the probe and the Proton.
You might say this is good if you are a spaceflight enthusiast who sometimes needs a reference handy, but what about the average person? For them, it is ten times more useful. If you hear about an aspect of spaceflight and it's just technical jargon ( "Boilerplate? What's that?" or "Trajectory?") or would like to know what the different Apollo missions accomplished, this is the book to get.
The author keeps all of his information interesting and concise and so far, after two months or so of ownership, I have not found one single thing left out. Also, useful information can be gained by just thumbing through the book. ("Aerogel? Never heard of that. I'll read its entry.")You might discover just looking through the book who John Stapp was, or what an aeolipile was, or why the Soviets never made it to the moon, or just what they do at the Goddard Spaceflight Center (and, for that matter, who Goddard was).
BUY THIS BOOK, NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!
If there is anything you ever wanted to know about spaceflight, whether you work for NASA or have never heard of the space shuttle, this is the book for you.
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By A Customer on January 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
For many years I have been a spaceflight enthusiast, but was often disturbed by the lack of a general, easy to read reference book. For example, what if I had hear of the LDEF satellite being retrieved by the Shuttle? What if I had never heard of the LDEF satellite? A few years ago, I would have had to search many books and probably would not find it. Now I can just flip open this encyclopedia to L and in short order find a detailed summary about LDEF (which, by the way, stands for Long Duration Exposure Facility). If I read or see on TV the astronauts going on a Shuttle mission, how do I know who they are? Just look them up. If I hear about a deep-space probe launched by a Proton rocket, I can look up the probe and the Proton.
You might say this is good if you are a spaceflight enthusiast who sometimes needs a reference handy, but what about the average person? For them, it is ten times more useful. If you hear about an aspect of spaceflight and it's just technical jargon ( "Boilerplate? What's that?" or "Trajectory?") or would like to know what the different Apollo missions accomplished, this is the book to get.
The author keeps all of his information interesting and concise and so far, after two months or so of ownership, I have not found one single thing left out. Also, useful information can be gained by just thumbing through the book. ("Aerogel? Never heard of that. I'll read its entry.") You might discover just looking through the book who John Stapp was, or what an aelopile was, or why the Soviets never made it to the moon, or just what they do at the Goddard Spaceflight Center (and, for that matter, who Goddard was).
BUY THIS BOOK, NOW!!!...
If there is anything you ever wanted to know about spaceflight, whether you work for NASA or have never heard of the space shuttle, this is the book for you.
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