Aiming For The Starsby Tom D. Crouch
Aiming for the Stars explores the motivations, goals, trials, and triumphs of the people who pioneered space exploration from the sixteenth century to the modern era. Tom D. Crouch describes space travel's emergence from the pages of science fiction into the laboratories of twentieth-century rocketeers such as Wernher von Braun, who masterminded Nazi rocket
Aiming for the Stars explores the motivations, goals, trials, and triumphs of the people who pioneered space exploration from the sixteenth century to the modern era. Tom D. Crouch describes space travel's emergence from the pages of science fiction into the laboratories of twentieth-century rocketeers such as Wernher von Braun, who masterminded Nazi rocket development and later became a key figure in the U.S. space program, and Sergei Korolev, an engineer whose successful launches became the foundation of Soviet Cold War policy. The book also explains the goals nad missions of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs and describes the 1986 Challenge disaster, the spacefaring adventurs of astronaut Shannon Lucid, and the fortunes of the Mir space station in the wake of glasnost. Linking individual obsessions and achievements with the political events and social currents that surrounded them, the book offers a wide-ranging view of the attempt to explore the final frontier.
- Smithsonian Institution Press
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- Product dimensions:
- 0.94(w) x 9.00(h) x 6.00(d)
Read an Excerpt
(Robert) Goddard left Roswell in 1941 to work with U.S. Navy and Curtiss-Wright engineers on the development of jet-assisted-takeoff and variable-thrust, liquid-propellant rockets. By the spring of 1944 he was receiving detailed reports on a new German long-range rocket, the V-2. "The weapon is reported to be almost identical with the rocket we were working on in New Mexico at the time we changed over to war work," he wrote to Harry Guggenheim," except that it is larger."
Goddard provided the editor of the National Geographic News Bulletin with a list of his own patents for almost every aspect of V-2 design. "So closely do the mechanical features of the V-2 parallel the American projectile [Goddard's rocket]," the News Bulletin announced in January 1945, that some physicists think the Germans may have actually copied most of the design."
That, certainly, was the opinion of Robert Hutchings Goddard. On August 14, 1945, he died of throat cancer, convinced that his work had played a key role in the German's success. It simply was not true. The Germans had followed the same path as Goddard, quite unaware that he had been there before them. Under the inspired leadership of Wernher von Braun, they had surged past him without a backward glance, achieving Goddard's goal of sending a rocket to the edge of space.
Meet the Author
Tom D. Crouch is senior curator of aeronautics at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum and the author of numerous award-winning books on aerospace history.
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