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Winner of the Luigi Napolitano Book Award (2006) from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA)

Mike Gruntman

Blazing the Trail:

The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry

AIAA, Reston, Va., 2004

ISBN 1-56347-705-X  ISBN 978-1-56347-705-8

475 pages with 340 figures

Index: 2750+ entries, including 650 individuals

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Table of Contents (detailed) - this page

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Some book pages (pdf)

pages 51-53   page 71   page 117   page 180   page 215   page 231-234   page 231   page 233
page 236   pages 273-275   page 278   page 292   pages 302-304   pages 302-305   page 312
page 315   pages 320-321   page 321   pages 329-331   page 333   page 334
page 338   page 345   pages 348-349   page 371   page 375   page 376   page 377   page 379
pages 390-391   pages 407-408   pages 409-411   page 425   pages 440-441   page 444   pages 451-453

Table of Contents (detailed)


1. Humble beginning

Principle of rocket propulsion. Hero of Alexandria. Aeolipile. Black powder (gunpowder): sulfur, charcoal, and saltpeter. Sulfur (brimstone) and saltpeter (niter) in the Old Testament. Saltpeter in India and China. Indian snow. Early export control of sulfur and saltpeter. Firecrackers. Bamboo tubes. Deadly projectiles. Chinese fire arrows and fire spears. Incendiary arrows. Lost in translation. First rockets. One thousand years ago. Basic rocket design for 800 years. Advanced technology to counter geopolitical threats. Rockets at K'ai-fung-fu in AD 1232. Rocket basket. Multiple rocket launchers. Chinese and Indian ways in rocketry. Marriage of military necessity and emerging technology.

2. Rocket proliferation -- The First Wave

The first great wave of rocket proliferation. Mongols learn gunpowder and rocketry. deadly accidents. Vast empire of Genghis Khan. Rockets of Kublai Khan rain on Japan in (probably) 1274 and 1281. Kamikaze typhoon comes to rescue. Mongols bring rockets to Korea and Java. Rockets in India. Rockets reach Europe. Battle of Legnica, 1241. Byzantine Empire. Marcus Graecus. Greek fire. Confusing incendiary substances with self-propelled missiles. Gunpowder in the Arab world. Saracens. Seventh Crusade. Crusaders of King Louis IX. At Damietta in the Nile river delta in 1249. Jean de Joinville. Noise like a thunder. Facility to research in saltpeter in Paris in 1227. Firearms and artillery in Italian cities. Baghdad under rocket fire in 1258? Brave European travelers to the Orient. The word "rocket." Who was the first? Importance of sustainable scientific and engineering knowledge. Early European rockets. Roger Bacon and Albertus Magnus (St. Albert the Great). Manufacturing of saltpeter and gunpowder. Vannoccio Biringuccio's De la pirotechnia, 1540. Conrad Kyeser's Bellifortis. Giovanni Di Fontana's Bellicorum Instrumentorum Liber. Mariano Taccola's De Ingenes. The Naval War of Chioggia, 1378-1381. Venitian chronicle by Andreae Danduli. First use of war rockets in European warfare - Paduans in 1379. Specialized rocket workshop. Early war rockets. The Hundred Years War. Rocketry common in Europe. Strategic industry of gunpowder production. Saltpeter plantation in 1400. Nitriaries. Fireworks. Specialized rocket technology. Scientific foundations of rocketry and spaceflight. Scientific method. Revolution in science. From Claudius Ptolemy to Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, and Isaac Newton. The gun rules as a weapon of choice.

3. Under Rocket Fire in India

A new chapter in rocketry. Timur (Tamerlane) invades India in 1398. War elephants. Battle of Delhi in 1399. Saltpeter and bamboo. Perfect weapon for rough terrain. Rockets in Mysore. Hyder Ali. Major rocketeer force. First metal case rockets. Incendiary and terror weapon. Not everybody impressed. More expensive than useful. British under rocket attacks. Saltpeter in India. Inaccurate missiles. Dangerous weapon. Tippoo Sultan. British-Mysore conflict flares up. Arrival of Lord Cornwallis. Siege and storm of Seringapatam in 1799. Ten thousand (10,000) Indian rockets captured. Sparkling rockets. Reports on Indian rocketry reach European archenemies, Great Britain and Napoleon's France.

4. The Congreve Rocket

William Congreve. Advantages of rockets. Minimal recoil: from boat and airplane. Congreve father and son. William Congreve -- inventor and public servant. Terrifying volleys. Improved design and fabrication technology. Standardized gunpowder composition. Central bore. Ramming gunpowder. Higher pressure and thrust. Royal Laboratory at Woolwich. Congreve rocket family. Rocket basics 1: thrust and specific impulse. Strength through technological superiority. Congreve Rockets at Boulogne in 1805. French scientists brought in. Bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807. Thomas Cochrane attacks at Basque Roads in 1809. Walcheren Island. First rocket units in the Royal Marine Artillery and the Royal Horse Artillery. Rocket school at Woolwich. Congreve rocket weapon system. Rockets discharged from boats. Peninsula Campaign. Uncertain weapon. Prejudice of Duke of Wellington. Rockets as nonsense. Rockets at Adour in Gascony in 1814. Rocket waltz. Perfect devils. Physical and moral effect. Rocket Brigade at the Battle of Nations. Captain Bogue. Devastating rocket fire. Rocket basics 2: rocket dynamics. William Moore: "A treatise on the Motion of Rockets," 1813. Rocket troop at Leipsic (Leipzig). Duke's prejudice. Rockets at the Battle of Waterloo, 1815. Centrally mounted guiding stick.

5. Rockets Come to America

Rockets in Colonial America. War of 1812. Coastal towns raided. Congreve's rocket ship. Rockets at Havre de Grace, Hampton, and Carolina. Northern frontier. Winfield Scott: from Lundy's Lane to Mexico. Rockets at Plattsburg. Stonington under rocket attack. Rocket superior range. HMS Erebus. Rocket ships in the Chesapeake. Congreves at the battle of Bladensburg and burning of Washington. Well-directed discharge of rockets. Rockets on the Potomac. Bombardment of Fort McHenry. Major George Armistead fires back. Francis Scott Key. Rocket's red glare. Rockets at the battle of New Orleans. General Andrew Jackson. Unfulfilled expectations. Beautiful appearance in the air. Congreves captured. Chalmette Monument.

6. First American Rockets

Rockets introduced into the U.S. Army. Army Ordnance: from 1812 to Explorer 1. Board of Ordnance endorses introduction of rockets. Rocket fabrication. Rockets in Europe and America. The secret appears known. Alfred Mordecai, most uncommon soldier. Invention of William Hale. Spinning missiles. Oblique nozzles and stabilization without guiding stick. Washington Arsenal. Mexican War of 1846. Time for technological innovations. Tests of new war rockets and speedy procurement. Howitzer and Rocket Battery. First American Rocket Battery. First rocket officers: George H. Talcott, Franklin D. Callender, Jesse Lee Reno. Rockets rushed to manufacturing. Fortress Monroe at Old Point Comfort, Virginia. Mexican Congreves fired first. Rockets at Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, El Telegrafo, Contreras, and Chapultepek. George B. McClellan and Pierre G.T. Beauregard temporarily in charge of rocketeers. Rocket drooping. Prairie artillery. Army rockets before the Civil War. Civil War begins. Union's rocket battalion of New York Light Artillery. Confederate Arsenal in Richmond. A story of the first Confederate rocket battery. Jefferson Davis, Pierre G.T. Beauregard, Josiah Gorgas, Judah P. Benjamin. Rocket skirmishes. Experience is not favorable.

7. Rocket Proliferation -- The Second Wave

The second great wave of rocket proliferation. Countries with rocket establishments. British Empire. All corners of the world. Technology innovations. Hydrostatic press. First rockets in South America. Chile. Thomas Cochrane attacks Spanish shipping at Callao in 1819. War of Triple Alliance, 1865-1870. Rockets force opening of the Parana river in 1846. Rocket evolution. Hydrostatic press. France. Napoleon's Commission. French war rockets. Louis Susane. Andreas Schumacher of Denmark. School of Pyrotechnics in Metz. French rockets in Algeria. Complete war rocket system. Stickless rocket flight stabilization. French rockets in Mexico. Demise of French war rocketry. Austria. Vincenz von Augustine. With the royal permission. Volley launch of Congreve rockets. Rocket establishment at Wiener-Neustadt. Rise and fall of the Royal Imperial Rocket Corps. Weapon against cavalry. Russia. Kartmazov, Alexander Zasyadko, Karl Shil'der, Konstantin Konstantinov. Russo-Turkish wars. Rocket flatboats at Silistria. Rockets at Varna. First missile submarine in 1834. Scientific methods of rocket design and testing. Rockets in colonial wars. Turkestan. First rockets near Tyuratam (Baikonur) in 1853. Crimean war, 1853-1856. Rocket fire exchange. Sea of Azov. Rockets at Sevastopol. France delivers 8000 rockets to Crimea. Rockets on the Baltic Sea. Coastal areas under rocket attack. Challenge of transportation and storage. Artillery decisively wins the competition. Rifled barrels. Breach loading. Bessemer process. Steam-powered ironclad ships. Whaling industry. Harpoon gun. Life-saving rockets.

8. Public Imagination on Fire

Space travel in fiction. Johannes Kepler. John Wilkins and American Interplanetary Society. Space travel fiction and new astronomy. Fascination with science. Cyrano De Bergerac, Daniel Defoe, Edgar Allan Poe. Jules Verne. Foundations of modern science fiction. De la Terre a la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon). Imagination of generations of future scientists and engineers. Edward Everett Hale. First application satellite. Brick Moon. Aid in navigation. First space station. Canali (canals) on Mars. Giovanni Schiaparelli. Streaks look real. Famous names on maps of Mars. Canali become canals. Camille Flammarion. Martian minister of agriculture. Percival Lowell. Fascination by Mars. Observatory at Flagstaff, Arizona, and discovery of Pluto. Photographic recording in astronomy. Eugene Antoniadi and Grand Lunette. Mariner 4 flies by Mars in 1965.

9. Great Pioneers

Practical work on rocketry and spaceflight begins. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. Dreamer from Kaluga. Self-education. Research into Interplanetary Space by Means of Rocket Power, 1903. Hydrocarbon-oxygen rocket. The Rocket Equation - Tsiolkovsky formula. Advantages of liquid rocket propulsion. Rocket basics 3: rocket equation. Yakov Perelman. Tsiolkovsky writings become known. Liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. Tsiolkovsky's experiments. Father of cosmonautics. Success beyond his wildest dreams. Robert Esnault-Pelterie. Great aviation pioneer: aileron, joystick, and radial engine. Passive thermal control of spacecraft. Article in Journal de Physique. Interstellar flight. Andre Hirsch. REP-Hirsch Award. The word "Astronautics." L'Astronautique by Esnault-Pelterie. Ary Sternfeld. (Ary Sternfeld -- videos.) Jean-Jacques Barre. French rocketry under Vichy Government and EA-41. Robert H. Goddard. First liquid-propellant rocket in 1926. Experimental solid-state physics. Solid-propellant rockets. Clarke University. Thrust in vacuum. Early bazooka on Mount Wilson in 1918. Rocket basics 4: rocket in vacuum. A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes, 1919. Topic of the (New York) Times: Goddard does not know the relation of action and reaction. The Moon rocket. Daniel and Harry Guggenheim. Charles Lindbergh. To Roswell, New Mexico. Many firsts. Record altitudes. No direct line from Goddard. Late recognition. Hermann Oberth. First rocket proposal. PhD dissertation rejected. Die Rakete zu den Planetenraumen, 1923. Oberth's Model B. Observation station in orbit. Giant space mirrors to melt ice. Work in isolation. Wege zur Raumschiffahrt, 1929. First REP-Hirsch Award. Kegelduse. Joining German war effort. To Huntsville, Alabama. Flying saucers. Back to Germany. Rocket and spaceflight societies. World War I and Le Prieur aerial missiles. Walter Hohmann. Hermann Potocnik-Noordung. Geostationary orbit. Orbital station. Space warfare and deterrence in 1920s. Arthur C. Clarke and geosynchronous satellites. Rocket and space enthusiasts: Karl debus, Willy Ley, H. Lorenz, Rudolf Nebel, Klaus Riedel, Alexander Scherschewsky, Max Valier, Johannes Winkler, Alexandre Ananoff, Jean-Jacques Barre, Louis Damblanc, Peiree Montagne, Henri F. Melot, Eigen Sanger, Friedrich Schmiedl, Franz von Hoefft, Guido von Pirquet, Franz Ulinski, David Lassner, Edward Pendray, Yurii Kodratyuk, Yakov, Perelman, Nikolai Rynin, Nikolai Tikhomirov, Fridrikh Tsander, Giulio Constanzi, Gaetano Arturo Grocco, Ludvik Ocenasek, Tsunendo Obara. Rocket societies. Verein fur Raumschiffahrt (VfR). Die Rakete. American Rocket Society (ARS), Institute of Aerospace Sciences (IAS), and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). First USSR space societies. British Interplanetary Society (BIS). World War II and astronautics. Alexandre Ananoff. First International Astronautical Congress. International Astronautical Federation (IAF).

Recommended science and engineering books on astronautics, rocketry, and space technology

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10. The First Modern Rocket

German Army steps in. Walter Dornberger. Kummersdorf Artillery Range. Wernher von Braun. A-2 and A-3. Engine for A-4. Walter Thiel. A-5 test vehicle. Supersonic aerodynamics. Army establishment Peenemunde. World War II. Army, industry, and academia. Success of A-4 on 3 October 1942. The Fuhrer converted into rocket supporter. Technological marvel. Parameters of A-4. Cooling techniques. Alcohol as rocket fuel. Gas generator. A-4 flight profile. Inertial guidance and riding the beam. Reliable warhead. V-1 winged missile. The Oslo report. Aerial reconnaissance. RAF Bomber Command strikes Peenemunde. In the bright moonlight. Dispersal of rocket manufacturing. The Mittelwerk. Tunnels in Kohnstein mountain. Savage conditions. SS joins the rocket program. V-2 mass production. Sabotage suppressed. A-4 increased range and record vertical launch. A-4 field launch. V-2 strikes. Evacuation of Peenemunde. Military effectiveness of V-2s. V-2 disposition. Surrender in Bavaria. American technical intelligence in Europe. General Electric Company and Project Hermes. Operation Paperclip. Submarine U-234 surrenders. Holger Toftoy. The Mittelwerk captured. Operation Backfire. From Peenemunde to Texas. German rocketeers at Fort Bliss, Texas. Soviet rocket effort. Rabe Institute and Institute Nordhausen. German rocketeers in France. German rocketeers in the Soviet Union. Road to Russia on 22 October 1946. German rocketeers in America. From Texas to Alabama. Contribution to science and technology.

11. JATO and Beyond

Two new centers of American rocketry. Regenerative cooling of rocket engines. GALCIT. Theodore von Karman. Interest in jet-assisted takeoff. Air Force champions science and technology. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold. First Air Force rocket development contract in 1939. Jet assisted takeoff and landing (JATO). Solid-propellant JATO. Rocket assisted aircraft takeoff. Homer A. Boushey. Composite grain. Thiokol liquid polymer. Composite and double-base propellants. Asphalt propellant. Thiokol. Hypergolic propellants. First private rocket enterprise. Reaction Motors, Inc. High-tech venture investing. Robert Goddard's JATO. Liquid-propellant JATO at GALCIT. Aerojet Engineering Corporation. Doing business in Washington. Return of war rockets. Bazooka. Tests at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. American V-1 (JB-2). American missiles and Soviet espionage. Barrage rockets. Missiles on the land, in the air, on the sea. Anti-aircraft missiles. Soviet barrage missile Katyusha. Struggle for the future of the American rocketry. Missiles and nuclear weapons. Science Advisory Group in 1945. Towards New Horizons. Possibility of a satellite. Hsue-Shen Tsien (Qian Xuesen). Navy satellite. Curtis LeMay. Hydrogen-oxygen propulsion. Project Rand. Report No. SM-11827. Soviet propaganda. Opponents of long-range rockets. Bitter debates. Vannevar Bush. Logical responsibility for the satellite. Unresolved disputes over the roles and missions. Lean years. V-2 for scientific research in Germany. Operation Sandy, 1947. Launch from the USS Midway. Operation Pushover. Ship launch. White Sands Missile Range. V-2s at White Sands. Upper Atmosphere Rocket Research Panel (UARRP). Birth of experimental space science. Emerging field.

12. Building the Foundation

Army Ordnance. Gladeon Barnes. Ordnance contract ORDCIT. Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Antiaircraft missile systems. Hermes A-1. JPL expansion. Missiles Private and Corporal. WAC Corporal. Nike guided missile. First American atomic missile Corporal. Missiles at White Sands. Redstone Arsenal. Navaho's heritage. Ballistic missile Redstone. Chrysler Corporation. Consolidation of Army's missile effort. Jupiter IRBM. John Medaris, Holger Toftoy, and Wernher von Braun. Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA). Kerosene fuel. North American Aviation's engine NAA-150-200-S-3D. Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC). Army's in-house development effort. "Germans" in Huntsville, Alabama. Air force and industrial contractors. Convair and MX-774 missile. Charlie Bossart. RTV-A-2 Hiroc. Integral propellant tank; separating nose cone; swiveling engines. MX-774 test flights. Convair carries on. Independent development or Soviet espionage? Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). NRL's Viking. Gimballed engines. Glenn L. Martin Company. Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). James van Allen and Aerobee. Workhorse of upper-atmosphere research. Roles and missions. Army looses rocket fight. "Engine Charlie" Wilson. Ballistic missiles and winged (cruise) missiles. Navaho. Autonetics Division of North American Aviation. Seeds if inertial guidance. Rocket propellant RP-1. Rocketdyne Division of North American Aviation. Flow of scientific information in the propulsion community. Atomic weapons. Low yield and heavy weight. Guidance, maps, and gravitational field. Hydrogen bomb. Edward Teller. John von Neumann. Von Neumann's Committee. Nuclear warhead for ICBM. Soviet ballistic missiles. MX-1953 and Atlas. Trevor Gardner. Hard choices. Teapot Committee. Joe-4 detected. Soviet H-bomb and missile program. Bernard A. Schriever. System engineering and technical direction. Western Development Division (WDD). Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation. Space Technology Laboratory (STL). TRW. The Aerospace Corporation. Simon Ramo. Killian Report. Air Force priority. Steel balloons. WD-40. Ignition in weightlessness. "Eggheads" in defense agaianst communism. One-and-one-half-stage design. Rocketdyne engines. Atlas ICBM. Propellant utilization. Radiocontrol and inertial guidance. Charles Stark Draper. Draper Lab. Space Inertial Reference Equipment (SPIRE). Local vertical. Atmospheric reentry. X-17. Argus. Blunt nose. Heat sink and ablative technology. From sea to shining sea. First active communications satellite SCORE. Atlas ICBM operational. Alternative subsystems. Titan ICBM. At the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Storable propellants. Hydrogen-oxygen propulsion. Centaur and RL10. Thor IRBM. Contractors of the first ballistic missiles. Douglas Aircraft. Thor-Able. Delta family of space launchers. Solid-propellant ballistic missiles. Special Projects Office (SPO). Fleet ballistic missile Polaris. William "Red" Raborn, Jr. Raborn's "hunting license." Blank check. Daunting challenges. Conference at Nobiska. Converging technology advances. USS George Washington. Aluminum additive to solid propellants. Allegany Ballistic Laboratory. Karl Klager. Thrust termination. Propellant density. Thrust vector control. Jetavator. Submarine launch. Ship's inertial navigational system (SINS). Absolute fix and space-based navigation. Navy Navigation Satellite System "Transit." Nuclear tests. Minuteman ICBM. Solid-propellant space launcher Scout.

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13. Road to Sputnik

Marxism transforms society. Nikolai Tikhomirov. Gas Dynamics Laboratory (GDL) at Leningrad. Valentin Glushko. Groups for Study of Jet Propulsion GIRD. Sergei Korolev, Fridrikh Tsander, Mikhail Tikhonravov, Yurii Pobedonostsev. Hybrid-propellant rockets. GIRD-09 and GIRD-10. Jet Propulsion Scientific-Research Institute (RNII). Patron Saint of red rocketry Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky. Rocketeers shot and imprisoned. Appeals went unanswered. Rocketeers in Sharashka. Decree of 13 May 1946. Foundation of the Soviet rocket and space establishment. Origins of Strategic Rocket Forces. Kapustin Yar missile range. First V-2 launched. Helping hand of KGB and GRU. Khimki. Podlipki. U-2 over Khimki and Podlipki. Podlipki's constellation. NII-88. TsNIIMash. TsUP. Ballistic missile R-1. Core team. Steep learning curve. First nuclear missile R-5M. Rocket launch with live nuclear warhead. Korolev's "empire." Design bureau "Yuzhnoe" in Dnepropetrovsk. Mikhail Yangel. Storable propellants. Yangel's R-12 (SS-4). Emergence of Soviet rocket and space establishment. Korolev's competitors. Vladimir Chelomei. Universal rocket UR. Soviet ballistic missiles. Cryogenic and storable propellants. Solid-propellant ICBM. Changes in the Kremlin. Viktor Makeyev. Ballistic missile R-11 (SS-1b). Submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Scud ballistic missile. Rocket and space center in Kuibyshev. Dmitrii Kozlov. Photoreconnaissance satellites. Missile and space center in Krasnoyarsk-26 in Siberia. Mikhail Reshetnev. Communication satellites. Interplanetary spacecraft in Khimki.

14. Gateways to Heaven

Complex engineering facilities. Safety and security. Thousand of miles. Missile test range infrastructure. Toxic propellants. Mechanical and heat loads. United States. New launch sites needed. Wallops Island. Selection of Cape Canaveral (pdf). Selection of Cape Canaveral (web site and pdf). Allowable launch azimuth. Launch of Bumper 8. Air Force Base Eastern Test Range (AFETR). First launch at Cape Canaveral. Lark, Matador, Snark, Navaho. Missile Firing Laboratory. NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Space port. Vandenberg Air Force Base. Launch in polar orbits. Soviet Union. Missile test range at Kapustin Yar. First V-2 launch at Kapustin Yar. Flight over Kapustin Yar. New missile test range. Three promising sites. RUPs for R-7 missile. Selection of Tyuratam launch base. Decree of the Council of Ministers. 130th Directorate of Engineering Works. Georgii Shubnikov. Alexander Gruntman. Harsh climate. Tyuratam pioneers. God-forgotten place. No Florida. (This book author in Tyuratam.) "Dry" garrison. Launch complex. Growing infrastructure. First ICBM launch. Secret location. U-2 over Kazakhstan. Missile range named Tyuratam. "Baikonur" Cosmodrome. From Tyuratam to Baikonur. Tyuratam from space. Tragedy strikes on 24 October 1960. Object Angara. Plesetsk missile base. First ICBMs targeted. World's busiest space port.

15. The Breakthrough

Origins of Soviet ICBM. Mikhail Tikhonravov. Rocket packet. R-7 ICBM. Engines of Valentin Glushko. Vassilii Mishin and rocket suspension. Sergei Korolev. R-7 and Atlas. Difficult launches. Disintegrated warhead. Grigorii Kisunko. R-7 (SS-6) deployed. Artificial satellite. International Geophysical Year (IGY). Object D. "We are asking for permission ..." Simplest satellite PS. Launch on 4 October 1957. Sputnik in orbit. Korolev under his real name. Two new stars. Chief designers of space systems. Unexpected Sputnik's radio frequencies. Crowning achievement. Glushko's Energia-Buran. Rivalry in rocket and space establishment. Veil of secrecy. Chief Designer Sergei Korolev and Chief Theoretician Mstislav Keldysh. Beginning of the R-7 Semyorka. Loadstar speaking for socialism. American reaction to Sputnik. Poor state of science education. Space Pearl Harbor. Soviet and American education and science. Chose to remain uninformed. Sputnik impact underestimated. Lack of priority. Chosen to be beaten. Object D launched. American rockets close the gap. Manned spaceflight. Comparison of first space launchers. Soviet Vostok program. First man in space -- Yurii Gagarin. Tireless care of Communist Party. Explorer and Vanguard. IGY. Project Orbiter. NRL proposal. Killian Report. President's announcement and Soviet response. Stewart Committee. Selection of Vanguard and termination of Orbiter. NRL and Martin teams. New launch vehicle. Power plant. Comprehensive program. Minitrack. Worldwide network. Predecessor of STDN. Optical tracking system. Precise time. Computers for satellite tracking. Scientific instruments. Success of TV-0 and TV-1. Baby satellite. Solar cells. Attention focuses on Vanguard. Jupiter C. Hydyne. 20 September 1956. "Missed the boat in 1956." TV-3 explodes. Army leaders at Redstone. Medaris charges ahead. Microlock. Discovery of radiation belts. Micrometeorite sensors. Passive thermal control. Spacecraft spin. Explorer 1 in orbit. Evolution of Explorer 1 spin axis. Dancing in the streets of Huntsville. Vanguard 1 in orbit. The oldest man-made object in orbit. Comparison of first satellites. Timeline of major development on the road to ICBM and first satellites. Birth of NASA. Freedom of space accepted. National space effort. Presidential science advisor. National debate. Scientific-technological elite. National Aeronautics and Space Act. T. Keith Glennan. Omnipresent KGB. NACA centers. Transfer of JPL. Marshall Space Flight Center. Beltsville Space Center. Science and applications. Communication satellites. Echo satellites. Manned Spacecraft Center. Seven Mercury astronauts. Space report card for 1960. Kennedy challenges the nation. "I believe we should go to the Moon."

Sputnik 1    Explorer 1    Vanguard 1    Astronautics    Missile Defense    Baikonur Tyuratam    Saryshagan    Rocket equation    Rocket espionage

16. Opening the Skies

Military space. Intelligence failure unacceptable. Big Four summit in 1955. Concept to "open the skies." Soviet Nyet! Peacetime overhead reconnaissance. Richard Leghorn. Boston University Optical Research Laboratory (BUORL). Beacon Hill study. GENETRIX. Balloon campaign. Kelly Johnson and CL-282. Seeds of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Bomber gap reevaluated. U-2 shot down. RAND satellite studies. Weapon system WS-117L. Richard Bissell. Freedom of space. Lockheed selected. Missile launch detection in infrared. Missile Detection and Alarm System MIDAS. Tight spending limits. Project "Corona." Corona, MIDAS, and SAMOS. Agena upper stage. Film recovery and talk-back systems. General Electric's capsule. Discoverer cover. Itek Corporation wins over Fairchild. Eastman Kodak's film for Corona. From Harvard to Boston University. Panoramic camera. Optics for aerial reconnaissance. George Goddard. Satellite recovery vehicle. Difficult development. Itek corporate tragedy. Discoverer XIII. American space first. Missile gap re-evaluated. Stereoscopic Mural. Two buckets. Army's Argon. Policy wisdom. Saryshagan missile range. First ballistic missile intercept in 1961. Grigorii Kisunko. First ballistic missile intercept in 1961 -- book First ballistic missile intercept in 1961 -- article (pdf) The first intelligence satellite GRAB. Scientific cover. First dual launch. Locating radar sites. Eyes and ears in space. Nuclear explosions detection from space. Vela program. First and second generation of Velas. Bhangmeter. Soviet Zenit-2 reconnaissance spacecraft. First Soviet operational military space system.

17. Joining the Club

Elite club of space era. France. Modest beginnings. Heritage of Esnault-Pelterie and Barre. LRBA. Veronique missile. Missile test range at Hammaguir. Landes test center. Kourou Space Center. La Force de Frappe. Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Robert Aubiniere. First French satellite. Challenge by ONERA. Pierres Precieuses. Diamant-A launcher. Asterix in orbit in 1965. FR-1 and D-1A. Woomera, Australia, Great Britain, and Europe. Test range for British missiles. Australian Weapons Research Establishment (WRE). Missile test range in outback. Woomera. Security embargo. First missiles at Woomera. Australian missiles: Kookaburra and Cockatoo. Taking advantage of opportunity in 1967. Sparta project. WRESAT in orbit. Lost momentum. British Blue Streak IRBM. Black Knight. Gamma engine. Hydrogen peroxide. Blue Streak terminated. European space program. Rise and fall of "Europa." Coralie. Astris. Europa-1 and Europa-2. British Ariel satellite series. ESRO, ELDO, and ESA. Ariane space launcher. British national space launcher. Black Arrow. Prospero in orbit in 1971. The first and the last. Japan. Hideo Itokawa. Pencil rockets. Kappa series. Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS). Kagoshima Space Center. Lambda rocket series. Lambda-4S. Ohsume in orbit in 1970. People's Republic of China. Ballistic missiles a top priority. Road to missiles. Hsue-Shen Tsien (Quian Xuesen). Research Academy No. 5 and Seventh Ministry of Machine Building. Soviet help. Jiuquan Missile Test Range. Dong Feng (East Wind). Soviet SS-3 and SS-4 denied. First missile launched. DF-2 ballistic missile. Guided missiles – nuclear weapon test. Reaching strategic targets. Long March space launcher. Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Military protection. Satellite Dong Fong Hong. Orbit inclination. Special skirt. DFH-1 in orbit in 1970. Melody device. Practice-1.
India. Vikram Sarabhai. Thumba launch site. Rohini. Aryabhata. Bhaskhara. Space industry. Applications Technology Satellite (ATS) program. Space Launch Vehicle (SLV) development. Sriharicota space port. Rohini in orbit in 1980.
Rocketry and space program in Israel. Israel. Ballistic missiles and space for survival. Yuval Neeman. Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). Satellite Ofeq-1 in orbit in 1988. Prograde and retrograde orbits. Adverse launch conditions. Shavit space launcher. Satellite Ofeq-3.

18. The First Thousand Years

From firecrackers to interstellar flight. Exciting first thousand years. Spacecraft technologies. World War II and science and engineering. Radiotelemetry, solar cells, SNAP, and hydrazine. Cost of access to space. Will aliens help us? Are we alone in the Universe? Interstellar travel. On this side of warp drive. Military space. Preventing Space Pearl Harbor. Lack of commitment in industrialized world (with very few exceptions). Per Aspera Ad Astra!

Appendix A: Acronyms and Abbreviations

Appendix B: Selected Bibliography


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Recommended books on history of astronautics, rocketry, and space

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