A history of one particular aspect of US space historythe attempt to develop a single-stage-to-orbit launcher... it is a story of muddle and waste... Butrica provides a competent and readable account of this debacle, which concentrates on the small research vehicle, DC-X.
Single Stage to Orbit: Politics, Space Technology, and the Quest for Reusable Rocketryby Andrew J. Butrica
While the glories and tragedies of the space shuttle make headlines and move the nation, the story of the shuttle forms an inseparabe part of a lesser-known but no less important dramathe search for a reusable single-stage-to-orbit rocket. Here an award-winning student of space science, Andrew J. Butrica, examines the long and tangled history of this… See more details below
While the glories and tragedies of the space shuttle make headlines and move the nation, the story of the shuttle forms an inseparabe part of a lesser-known but no less important dramathe search for a reusable single-stage-to-orbit rocket. Here an award-winning student of space science, Andrew J. Butrica, examines the long and tangled history of this ambitious concept, from it first glimmerings in the 1920s, when technicians dismissed it as unfeasible, to its highly expensive heyday in the midst of the Cold War, when conservative-backed government programs struggled to produce an operational flight vehicle.
Butrica finds a blending of far-sighted engineering and heavy-handed politics. To the first and oldest ideathat of the reusable rocket-powered single-stage-to-orbit vehicleplanners who belonged to what President Eisenhower referred to as the military-industrial complex.added experimental ("X"), "aircraft-like" capabilties and, eventually, a "faster, cheaper, smaller" managerial approach. Single Stage to Orbit traces the interplay of technology, corporate interest, and politics, a combination that well served the conservative space agenda and ultimately triumphednot in the realization of inexpensive, reliable space transportbut in a vision of space militarization and commercialization that would appear settled United States policy in the early twenty-first century.
Johns Hopkins University Press
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The 'holy grail' of the spaceship movement has been the development of a vehicle that could accomplish single stage to orbit (SSTO) flight. This study describes the evolution of this concept from the 1920s to the present, revealing a conservative space agenda that has not yet been the subject of historical analysis. As such, it makes an important contribution to space history literature.
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