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JPL and the American Space Program: A History of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (The Planetary Exploration Series) Hardcover – September 10, 1982

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Product Details

  • Series: The Planetary Exploration Series
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; y First printing edition (September 10, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300024088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300024081
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,080,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
I confess I'm only about half way through this book. It was written in 1982 and starts the story with the predecessor of JPL in Pasadena, GALCIT, in the 1930s. Koppes shows in great detail how a few individuals in Pasadena started research on rockets that to some extent paralleled what Robert Goddard was doing in Mew Mexico. Goddard, however, was a loner and refused to share his results with anyone while Karman, Malina and others at JPL went on to form the mainstream of rocket development in the US before and during WWII.

By the time Sputnik was launched, JPL had Wehrner von Braun & his team of rocket engineers to contend with. They had done a lot of work on telemetry and celestial navigation in the early '50s so they moved away from the propulsion end of space travel into satellites and interplanetary exploration.

The book is filled with details of launches and budget fights but never in a way that is dry or boring. I'll come back and update this review when I finish it!
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