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Mike Gruntman's
Blazing the Trail. The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry

The winner of the Luigi Napolitano Book Award (2006) from the International Academy of Astronautics

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)

List of figures

Preface - describes book's scope

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About the Book

This book presents the fascinating story of the events that paved the way to space. It introduces the reader to the history of early rocketry and the subsequent developments which led into the space age. People of various nations and from various lands contributed to the breakthrough to space, and the book takes the reader to far away places on five continents.

This world-encompassing view of the realization of the space age reflects the author's truly unique personal experience, a life journey from a child growing on the Tyuratam ballistic missile launch base in the 1950s and early 1960s, to an accomplished space physicist and engineer to the founding director of a major U.S. nationally recognized program in space engineering in the heart of the American space industry.

Most publications on the topic either target narrow aspects of rocket and spacecraft history or are popular books that scratch the surface, with minimal and sometimes inaccurate technical details. This book bridges the gap. It is a one-stop source of numerous technical details usually unavailable in popular publications. (A prominent historian described the book as "an encyclopedic history of rocketry" that "provides for the first time a modern, comprehensive overview of the subject" and "offers the best discussions available about some of the key breakthroughs ... " ) The details are not overbearing and anyone interested in rocketry and space exploration will navigate through the book without difficulty. The book also includes many quotes to give readers a flavor of how the participants viewed the developments. (See detailed Table of Contents) There are 340 figures and photographs, many appearing for the first time.

About the Author

Mike Gruntman is professor of astronautics and professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) and the founding director of the USC Astronautics Program focusing on degrees in space engineering. He was the first (founding) Chairman (2004–2007) of the Astronautics and Space Technology Division in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Today, it is the Department of Astronautical Engineering(ASTE). Gruntman is involved in a number of research and development rograms in space science and technology; he is Co-Investigator on NASA's current space missions TWINS and IBEX. He authored and co-authored nearly 300 publications in the areas of astronautics, space physics, space technology, space sensors, scientific instrumentation, astronautical education, and space and rocket history.

Sputnik 1         Explorer 1        Vanguard 1

"Vital Statistics" of Blazing the Trail (courtesy of Amazon)

Flesh-Kincaid Index:    12.1
            69% of books are easier to read than Blazing the Trail
            31% of books are harder to read than Blazing the Trail

Book preview

Complex Words: 22%
(A word is considered "complex" if it has three or more syllables.)
83% of books have a smaller percentage of complex words than Blazing the Trail
17% of books have a larger percentage of complex words than Blazing the Trail

Words per Sentence: 15.8
47% of books have fewer words per sentence than Blazing the Trail
53% of books have more words per sentence than Blazing the Trail

Total Number of Characters: 1,038,111
91% of books have fewer characters than Blazing the Trail
9% of books have more characters than Blazing the Trail

Total Number of Words: 151,546
90% of books have fewer words than Blazing the Trail
10% of books have more words than Blazing the Trail

Total Number of Sentences: 9,605
88% of books have fewer sentences than Blazing the Trail
12% of books have more sentences than Blazing the Trail

Words per Dollar: 2,906

Words per Ounce: 3,444

Spy at USC