looking for a book...

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tesqua

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Does anyone here have a recommendation for a nonfiction book to read about spacecraft design or its community, since the Apollo program? I find NASA/the space shuttle interesting, but other topics such as foreign space agencies are welcome. I should also also mention that "readability" is important to me. I don't so much want a technical outline of some spacecraft's development. Thanks! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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DrRocket

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Does anyone here have a recommendation for a nonfiction book to read about spacecraft design or its community, since the Apollo program? I find NASA/the space shuttle interesting, but other topics such as foreign space agencies are welcome. I should also also mention that "readability" is important to me. I don't so much want a technical outline of some spacecraft's development. Thanks! <br />Posted by tesqua</DIV></p><p>I'm not quite sure what sort of information you are looking for.&nbsp; In the arena of launch systems, the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) has a publication entitled <em>International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems.</em>&nbsp; It provides a description and specifications all almost all of the launchers that have been developed to date.</p><p>If you could describe more clearly what aspects of spacecraft are of interest to you I might be able to suggest sometehing else.&nbsp; </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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DrRocket

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Does anyone here have a recommendation for a nonfiction book to read about spacecraft design or its community, since the Apollo program? I find NASA/the space shuttle interesting, but other topics such as foreign space agencies are welcome. I should also also mention that "readability" is important to me. I don't so much want a technical outline of some spacecraft's development. Thanks! <br />Posted by tesqua</DIV></p><p>Here is a link to a tutorial on spaceflight from JPL</p><p>http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/basics/</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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tesqua

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Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I'm not quite sure what sort of information you are looking for.&nbsp; In the arena of launch systems, the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) has a publication entitled International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems.&nbsp; It provides a description and specifications all almost all of the launchers that have been developed to date.If you could describe more clearly what aspects of spacecraft are of interest to you I might be able to suggest sometehing else.&nbsp; <br /> Posted by DrRocket</DIV><br />I guess I'm looking for memoirs, or something that would describe day-to-day activity at NASA. How do astronauts handle the rigorous training? How was it to help design the space shuttle, and then to witness subsequent shuttle disasters? I am interested in the people who make it all happen. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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DrRocket

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I guess I'm looking for memoirs, or something that would describe day-to-day activity at NASA. How do astronauts handle the rigorous training? How was it to help design the space shuttle, and then to witness subsequent shuttle disasters? I am interested in the people who make it all happen. <br />Posted by tesqua</DIV></p><p>I'm not aware of any books like that.&nbsp;&nbsp; I do know some of the people involved, and have worked with them.&nbsp; NASA didn't really design the shuttle.&nbsp; That was primarily done by contractors, Rockwell being probably the major player at the time.&nbsp; The solids were designed by Thiokol.</p><p>The people who make it happen are primarily engineers who get little or no public exposure.&nbsp; They worry detailed design issues, run sophisticated analyses to evaluate performance and make sure the structures hang together, conduct tests to verify the analyses, develop the manufacturing processes, review the data for the as-built condition of the various parts and subsystems, and make decisions on useability when things are not quite&nbsp;within specification.&nbsp; A few of the higher level engineers must give their&nbsp;OK for their area of responsibility before the launch decision can be made.&nbsp; It can be interesting work, but would make a pretty dry book.</p><p>I don't know of any stories regarding failure investigations other than what was in the popular press and Feynman's accounts of his participation.&nbsp; Failure investigations are not particularly exciting, just a lot of hard work and many dead ends until you find a likely culprit -- and sometimes you don't.&nbsp; Quite often the details of a failure investigation are not made public.&nbsp; </p><p>Also don't believe everything that you see in the press.&nbsp; NASA is rather adept at public relations and puts their best foot forward.</p><p>If you want to go&nbsp;back to the very early days there&nbsp;must be a biography of Werner Von Braun out there somewhere.</p><p>If you want to see some of the people, there is, or at least used to be, an annual AIAA meeting at Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.&nbsp; Sometimes they have&nbsp;some old timers there.&nbsp; The&nbsp;time that I attended was years ago, but I recall seeing Alan Shepherd&nbsp;walking around and later heard him speak.</p><p>The astronauts that I have met are all really nice folks,&nbsp;and well-spoken.&nbsp; But they don't get to fly the shuttle a lot.&nbsp; A great deal of their time goes to public appearances.&nbsp; They are spectacular representatives for NASA.&nbsp;<br /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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crazyeddie

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I guess I'm looking for memoirs, or something that would describe day-to-day activity at NASA. How do astronauts handle the rigorous training? How was it to help design the space shuttle, and then to witness subsequent shuttle disasters? I am interested in the people who make it all happen. <br /> Posted by tesqua</DIV></p><p>I might suggest <span style="font-style:italic" class="Apple-style-span">Riding Rockets, The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut, </span>by Mike Mullane. &nbsp;Here's a review of it in the NYT:</p><p>http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/19/books/review/19ferrell.html</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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KosmicHero

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<p><br />There are tons of great books.&nbsp; Unfortunately, not really about the people so much.&nbsp; I have some recommendations though.&nbsp; </p><p>I just finished reading "At the Edge of Space" which is about the X-15 program and I would highly recommend it (http://www.amazon.com/At-Edge-Space-Flight-Program/dp/1560981075).&nbsp; </p><p>I am currently reading "Deep Black" which is about American spy satellites; dated, but still good and very readable (http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Black-William-E-Burroughs/dp/0425108791/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210108495&sr=1-1).&nbsp; </p><p>Another book that comes close to your criteria is "Space System Failures" which is about satellites, launch vehicles, and other space systems (http://www.amazon.com/Space-Systems-Failures-Disasters-Satellites/dp/0387215190/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210108566&sr=1-1).&nbsp; </p><p>Some other books I've read and liked (non-technical) are: "Lost in Space" (http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Space-Fall-NASA-Dream/dp/0375727736/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210108678&sr=1-5), "Halfway to Anywhere" (http://www.amazon.com/Halfway-Anywhere-Achieving-Americas-Destiny/dp/0871318474/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210108759&sr=1-1), "Living Aloft" (http://www.amazon.com/Living-Aloft-Requirements-Extended-Spaceflight/dp/1410219836/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210108880&sr=1-1), and "Spacefaring: The Human Dimension" (http://www.amazon.com/Spacefaring-Human-Dimension-Albert-Harrison/dp/0520236777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210108937&sr=1-1).</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> kosmichero.wordpress.com </div>
 
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tesqua

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thanks for the info everyone. Actually I went to my local Borders and perused the astronomy section, and I found a book called "Final Countdown: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program" by Pat Duggins. It covers the circumstances that the shuttle was conceived (post-Apollo budget cuts, among others), and the difficulty NASA had in describing an overall mission for the shuttle (especially in the 17 yrs before the ISS). There are also some good anecdotes from astronauts. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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