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Dyna-Soar: Hypersonic Strategic Weapons System: Apogee Books Space Series 35 Pap/DVD Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1896522951
ISBN-10: 1896522955
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Robert Godwin has created an unparalleled look at this oft-forgotten program..." -- collectspace.com, September, 2003

"Robert Godwin's evocative compendium does superb justice to one of aerospace history's great "what ifs"." -- hyperscale.com, August, 2003

"Thanks for a great account of one of the most fascinating space projects that never flew." -- Andrew Chaikin, author of

"an encyclopedic look at an aircraft that could have changed the whole tenor of the Cold War space race..." -- Space.com, September, 2003

"treasure trove of material that provides the closest thing anyone today can get to an inside view of the project" -- IEEE Spectrum, September, 2003

From the Author

The Dyna-Soar story is a tale of high-stakes and high technology involving the leading players in the world of politics and aerospace. Some of the best-known heroes of the American space program played a hand in that story.

This book looks at the story of Dyna-Soar through the official documentation that flowed between the Air Force, NASA and the contractors. There are a few interesting additions such as an article written by Dornberger years after Dyna-Soar was cancelled making a case for the validity of the aerospace plane concept and there is a copy of the bibliography that Sanger used when he prepared his original report. The details of the political machinations can be partially divined from reading these documents but the real narrative is still waiting to be told.

This book however is just one chapter in an enormous story that is still being written.

In the end we can only imagine how the geopolitical climate might be different today had the X-20 Dyna-Soar flown in space.

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Product Details

  • Series: Apogee Books Space Series
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc.; Pap/DVD edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1896522955
  • ISBN-13: 978-1896522951
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,558,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Matlock on November 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
Way back in my college days, I first read of the Dyna-Soar project. Dyna-Soar was being pushed then as a Fractional Orbit Bombardment System (FOBS). It was to be launched by a massive booster, go into orbit, reach its target and drop an atomic bomb on it. Then the program got cancelled.

In this book it appears that the program had no real direction. It was a space plane, it was a research vehicle, it was recon vehicle, it was a shuttle, it was part of the Apollo program. The opinion is expressed that Robert McNamara cancelled the program because no one could tell him what he was getting for the money being spent. I suspect this is true, but I also expect that this was only part of the story. At the time there was a little thing going on called the Viet Nam war that was beginning to suck up a lot of money. The Apollo program was going strong, also expensive. President Johnson wanted money for his War on Poverty. Finally, one of the Anti Missile Treaties signed by the US and the USSR prohibited FOBS.

This book covers the Dyna-Soar program through reprinting the official documentation that flowed between the Air Force, NASA and the Contractors. There is very little analysis of what happened. As a collection of documents, this is the raw material that gives the unvarnished truth.

There's room here for another book that would give more of the political aspects. Could we have built it then? Could we build it now? Maybe we should give the project to Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites - The Dyna-Soar bird looked a lot like their Space Ship One.
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Format: Paperback
Our friends at Apogee books continue to peel the cobwebs away from the history of the space program and provide us all with unique insights into the workings of these pivotal programs and vehicles.
The X-20 was one of the more interesting "might have beens" in the early days of the space race and that it was never built has more to say about the inability of the Air Force and the US government to agree upon its actual role than anything inadequate about the vehicle itself. Because it was never completed and, thus, never flew, information on the Dyna Soar has always been hard to come by with only small articles and snippets of information surfacing from time to time. Here in one book is a vast compendium of copied primary source material relating to this program. Copies of reports, drawings, photographs and even, on the DVD, movie film relating to the development of this intreguing vehicle.
Those who have seen and enjoyed other titles in the Apogee line of "NASA Mission Reports" will find the same format here. If you are looking for an analytical history of the program with learned discussions of the reasonings behind the political changes that ultimately killed the program, this is not the book for you. This book is really a collection of archival papers with no modern analysis added. In many ways this is the purest way to view history as it allows the reader to make up their own mind, at least regarding the material presented.
Very highly recommended to all space and technical history fans.
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Format: Paperback
Our friends at Apogee books continue to peel the cobwebs away from the history of the space program and provide us all with unique insights into the workings of these pivotal programs and vehicles.
The X-20 was one of the more interesting "might have beens" in the early days of the space race and that it was never built has more to say about the inability of the Air Force and the US government to agree upon its actual role than anything inadequate about the vehicle itself. Because it was never completed and, thus, never flew, information on the Dyna Soar has always been hard to come by with only small articles and snippets of information surfacing from time to time. Here in one book is a vast compendium of copied primary source material relating to this program. Copies of reports, drawings, photographs and even, on the DVD, movie film relating to the development of this intreguing vehicle.
Those who have seen and enjoyed other titles in the Apogee line of "NASA Mission Reports" will find the same format here. If you are looking for an analytical history of the program with learned discussions of the reasonings behind the political changes that ultimately killed the program, this is not the book for you. This book is really a collection of archival papers with no modern analysis added. In many ways this is the purest way to view history as it allows the reader to make up their own mind, at least regarding the material presented.
Very highly recommended to all space and technical history fans.
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Format: Paperback
The X-20 Dyna-Soar is as much a legend as it ever was a real thing. It was to be the world’s first manned and piloted space plane, with an initial orbital flight and glide back to earth planned for 1965. A space shuttle-like vehicle way before its time. It was real — it had design and engineering specs, test flight plans, full-size mockups, and an initial group of six pilots. But it literally never got off the ground. In fact it was never even really built. This book tells the history of the Dyna-Soar project from 1955 to its cancellation in 1963, with obituaries running through 1965.

The book is a collection of documents, rather than a continuous narrative. The story is told through NACA, NASA, Air Force, Department of Defense, and other documents of the time. Many are memoranda on technical subjects, design documents, mission definitions, test flight plans, and the like, although some are also short summaries of the history and potential of the project.

This was the “space age”. And it was the cold war. Popular dreams of space travel ran right alongside plans for exploiting space for political and strategic warfare advantages. The concept of a rocket glider had originated with Eugen Sanger, one of Germany’s rocket scientists of the 1930s. And the Dyna-Soar project itself was born in a military context in the US. Still its evolution in the era of US/Soviet competition, displayed that dual personality — the dreams of space and the dreams of strategic advantage. Beautiful, starry-eyed visions of space exploration and civilian commercial hypersonic flight sit side by side with discussions of how the rocket plane would complement conventional bombers and ICBMs in the American military arsenal.
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