Robotic Exploration of the Solar System: Part I: The Golden Age 1957-1982 / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $17.67
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 55%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (21) from $17.67   
  • New (15) from $17.67   
  • Used (6) from $27.19   


This fascinating book is a must-have text for space enthusiasts with an engineering bent. It is a detailed history of unmanned missions that have explored our solar system. The subject is treated wherever possible from an engineering and scientific standpoint and includes technical descriptions of the spacecraft, their mission designs and their instrumentations. Scientific results are discussed in depth, together with details of mission management. The book is fantastically comprehensive, covering missions and results from the 1950s right up to the present day. Some of the latest missions and their results appear in a popular science book for the first time.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From the reviews:

"This book … presents the accomplishments of robotic exploration of the major planets and their moons from Mercury to Neptune. Ulivi and Harland do a splendid job describing observations made using these … ‘robots’ to take pictures and explore the infrared and radio emissions, aurora, magnetic fields, and magnetospheres of these planets, their satellites, and the interplanetary medium. … More than 46 pages of references, further readings, excellent photographs and extensive illustrations, full author list, 6-page glossary, and 10-page index. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels." (W. E. Howard, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (8), 2008)

"Robotic Exploration of the Solar System would address events that had happened over the period from 1957 up to the present day. … this is a fantastic book – there is much in it that I, as a devotee of the subject for longer than either of the authors, can draw from it. It really is encyclopaedic in its coverage and is a wonderful work for old timers … and for students, new to the field, to consult to get up to speed." (Colin Pillinger, The Observatory, Vol. 128 (1203), 2008)

"The best book I read so far on space exploration. ...The combination of Harland the historian, and Ulivi the astronomer ... make this an outstanding contribution. First, this book describes the state of the knowledge of the solar system just before space exploration begins. Second, this book is comprehensive, in that it includes US, European and Soviet/Russian contributions. ... An excellent basis for those who are looking for a global view of this part of the history of science." (Patrick Haubrechts,

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

The Second World War left among its many and painful heritages a new technology, ballistic missiles, that was to change the world, providing a way to carry into space instruments, satellites and probes that revolutionized science and technology.

Prior to launching artificial satellites, both the then Soviet Union and the United States developed more powerful intercontinental missiles with a range of thousands of miles. In the 1950s, the Soviets designed the huge 8K71 "Semiorka" (little seven, after the military designator R 7), a single staged rocket equipped with four large boosters and able to carry an heavy thermonuclear warhead to the continental US. In the USA, competition between the different armed forces prevailed, and the Army developed the medium range Redstone and Jupiter missiles, whilst the Air Force developed the Thor and two different ICBMs, Atlas and Titan and the Navy developed the Polaris submarine launched missiles.

The potential of all of these rockets to boost spacecraft were huge, but while in the Soviet Union it was decided to modify an 8K71 to carry a scientific payload into space, the United States decided that the Navy would develop a tiny new rocket called Vanguard, specifically designed for the task. This decision was to have grave repercussions: on 4 October 1957 the Soviet Union launched its PS-1 satellite, better known as Sputnik, which rocked the USA. This was compounded a month later by the launch of the PS-2, carrying the dog Laika. Following the explosion of the first Vanguard on December 6, the US Army then had the task to restore the American confidence by successfully carrying Explorer 1 into space on 1 February 1958 using the modified Redstone rocket called Juno 1. During the same year, the superpowers started working on new versions of their missiles able to carry small payloads to the Moon and, potentially, to the near planets. The space race had begun.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

The beginning.- Of landers and orbiters.- The grandest tour.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)