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The Rocket Company [Kindle Edition]

Patrick Stiennon , David Hoerr , Peter Diamandis , Doug Birkholz
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $34.95
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Book Description

The Rocket Company is a fictional account of the development of a commercial two stage to orbit (TSTO) reusable launch vehicle (RLV). Included is a description of the business model devised by a group of seven fictional investors committed to creating an economic engine that will cause the cost of space transportation to spiral rapidly downward as the market for launch services expands. In this context, the marketing, regulatory, and technical problems facing any serious attempt to reduce the cost of space transportation are explored. Although a work of fiction, the book follows in the vein of non-fictional accounts of the development of successful technological products and businesses, such as The Soul of a New Machine, and American Steel.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Patrick J. G. Stiennon is an experienced aerospace engineer and patent attorney at Stiennon & Stiennon, Madison, Wisconsin. He is a Senior Member of AIAA David M. Hoerr is an aerospace consultant and a lecturer in Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He is a Senior Member of AIAA. Doug Birkholz is an award-winning industrial designer and principal at Inspire Design Group LLC, a product design firm based in Middleton, Wisconsin.

Product Details

  • File Size: 8337 KB
  • Print Length: 263 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Primedia E-launch LLC; Kindle addition edition (March 18, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BWEEWOI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,171 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting case study October 29, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a case study for launching the exploitation of space through private means. It has a thin framing story in which the writer claims to be writing a history of a company that is developing a reusable launch vehicle for sale on the open market.

As a fictional business case study, it makes for very interesting reading. The author knows his rocket science and celestial mechanics and lays out his ideas very well. I saw an earlier reviewer's complaint over the use of imperial rather than metric units, but it does not distract from the reasoning.

For a book on space travel, this book is unique in my experience in the detail to which it analyses the business requirements needed to make the ideas work. The idea that the rocket company intends only to manufacture and sell the launch vehicle described in the book is a big departure from the sort of space advocacy books that have been published since the great retreat from the moon.

There are various technical decisions made in the design process described in the book that I have a problem with, but I'd guess that every reader will feel this way and that every reader's quibbles will be different. That's what happens whenever a truly interesting idea is discussed.

I wish more of the ideas presented in the proposed design had been summarized in graphs. Hopefully future printings of the book will expand the one graph at the end into a series of appendices for the technically inclined.

Highly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My take on The Rocket Company August 31, 2005
Format:Paperback
This book is promoted as a novel. It's much more than a novel -- it really is a primer of "rocket science." I'd rate it at least a 4 and 1/2 stars. I am a missile engineer with 27 years experience in the design and development of rockets and missiles. While most of my experience is with solid propellant missiles, I have a working knowledge of liquid rockets. Patrick tells it how it truly is. The book leads the reader through the classical trade-offs involved in designing a liquid-fueled payload-to-orbit rocket system. Not until the chapter suggesting the existence of a monestary on the moon did I come to appreciate that this is really fiction. I should acknowledge that I knew Patrick and worked with him on a single-stage-to-orbit system some 20 years ago. I have not had contact with him since then until I was alerted to the existence of this book by a friend we share in common.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Peter Finch January 3, 2007
Format:Paperback
The Rocket Company is well worth reading if you are a space nut. The authors are opinionated and don't really do justice to alternate ideas. Sometimes you get the feeling they are skipping over the hard parts. But they explore a lot of areas laymen don't think about, and that can be fun.

While this book is technically a novel, it reads more like a long, fictional HBS case. The characters and plot are unimportant. You are meant to read about the business and engineering and be interested in that. It's a book for nerds.

Technically, the book is so-so. The authors downplay testing. They push ultra-thin engineering margins. They introduce complexity where it seems unnecessary. It often seems like AMM (the rocket company) is doing things the hard way. Maybe these are literary tools used so that the authors can talk about their interests, but the reader is often left thinking "there's no way a rational company would do things that way or spend money on that". They approach business questions with a bit of wishful thinking. Regular VC discount rates do not apply. No real competitors will ever arise. To their credit they do at least think about business issues.

Good space books are thin on the ground. This one deals with a lot of the real complexity of an engineering company, and that makes it interesting. It's obviously timely, since numerous real companies are beginning to push into this world. If it was a book about any other topic, I'd give it three stars, but it's so unique in its depth and thought on this topic that I have to pump it up. In summary: It's a book for nerds. Mandatory reading for space nuts. Should not be taken as gospel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Rocket Company" is a really neat book. You'd never confuse it with great literature, though. After all, engineers, such as authors Patrick J. G. Stiennon and David M. Hoerr, are generally not known for writing scintillating prose. It's sort of a hybrid--a novel that reads like a technical report. This is not a bad thing in itself, but it definitely lacks a fast-paced narrative style to draw you into the story. What little dialogue there is reads like highly polished scripts rather than real conversations. However, if you make the effort to work your way through "The Rocket Company," you will receive, at no additional cost, an excellent, comprehensive introductory education in the fields of spacecraft engineering, production, test and operations. The authors lead you through the technical, management and financial processes involved in developing a (fictional) new, low-cost space launch system. You can't avoid learning a lot from them along the way.

Debates about the cheapest ways to put payloads into orbit go back to the beginning of the Space Age. The expendable launch vehicles that continue to dominate the field today clearly are not the answer--they are the equivalent of an airline flying a brand-new 747 on one transcontinental trip and then cutting up the airplane for scrap when it gets to its destination. The bill of goods that initially sold the Space Shuttle promised much cheaper access to space--that didn't happen. The men and women of "The Rocket Company" take the next step beyond the Space Shuttle. They develop a fully reusable launch vehicle that slashes the cost per pound to put payloads into orbit, and even makes money on the deal.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome book, great details, very well researched.
Published 4 days ago by Andrew L
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, lots of detail.
Well written book with a lot of insights into the private enterprise of space travel. Even though this was written as a novel, the book has a tremendous amount of detail about how... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Steve
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked the ideas presented by the author about developing a ...
I liked the ideas presented by the author about developing a rocket but at times the book was hard to have that "I can't put this down" mentality. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A 'how-to' for relaunching the Space Age
Ostensibly a novel, this book is really more of a 'documentary' of the future. It is about building a reusable orbital spacecraft, and covers everything from government regulation... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Thomas E Carman
5.0 out of 5 stars New-Space Business Case Study
This book is unique, a case study for an entrepreneurial, private space business. Everything is worked out in great, and plausible, detail by authors who clearly have a great deal... Read more
Published 7 months ago by donald heskett
3.0 out of 5 stars ok read
This book was an interesting read. The technical info is pretty good. However, for a fictional book it's pretty dry without much of a climax. The characters are not well developed.
Published 7 months ago by RocketMan
4.0 out of 5 stars Andrew Wagner
Interesting and thought provoking, but mostly a hodgepodge of pet ideas about how to build a rocket and a few about how to run a company--some good, some not so much.
Published 10 months ago by Andrew J. Wagner
4.0 out of 5 stars A roadmap of sorts
I read this despite panning of the story by people who wanted high drama and thrills. My imagination is quite capable of filling all that stuff in when a rather complete... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Terry Palfrey
4.0 out of 5 stars Actual hard science SciFi
It was refreshing to see a good hard science fiction book. The pace was a bit slow at times and it was hard to keep riveted at times. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Why don't they just do it!
This is a strange novel. Really, it is an engineering treatise with an easy-to-read spin which makes it totally understandable for the non-engineer. Read more
Published 12 months ago by R. PARTRIDGE
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