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U.S. Space Launch-Vehicle Technology: Viking to Space Shuttle 1st Edition
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The book shows signs of extensive research. Fully the last quarter of the book consists of footnotes, that often refer to original NASA publications. But even with this work, at several places in the text, it refers to incomplete information about earlier projects. No doubt many of the original engineers had retired and died by the time this study was done. Some of the expert knowledge was never put on paper.
The coverage of the shuttle is not bad. But you could probably find more extensive writeups elsewhere. As the most recent project in the book, it benefited from the most complete records, as well as perhaps the greatest public interest.
It uses the story of rocket development to outline what modern engineering is all about. The author's choice to divide his subject in two volumes, space launchers versus military missiles, is a good choice, allowing to highlight differences and similarities.
The narrative and chronological style used in both volumes best shows the development of each technology over time. The author gives due credit to the extraordinary contribution to V. Braun, a bit too much to Goddard.
The book's organization by chapters, each describing a launcher family, makes any specialized or focused research easier.
The scope also extends about organizational and managerial influence on the development of a given technology, only when relevant, avoiding `old boys' futile personal career narratives.
My only regret is the lack of data recapitulation tables, by chapter, providing an exhaustive data presentation for the chapter.
It was worth bying.
I have to admit to some personal bias here. Dill and I worked together at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center for years, he as the Center Historian and I as a senior aerospace research engineer. I've read a lot of his work and uniformly admired it.