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The dramatic inside story of the first four historic flights that launched SpaceX—and Elon Musk—from a shaky startup into the world's leading edge rocket company.
SpaceX has enjoyed a miraculous decade. Less than 20 years after its founding, it boasts the largest constellation of commercial satellites in orbit, has pioneered reusable rockets, and in 2020 became the first private company to launch human beings into orbit. Half a century after the space race SpaceX is pushing forward into the cosmos, laying the foundation for our exploration of other worlds.
But before it became one of the most powerful players in the aerospace industry, SpaceX was a fledgling startup, scrambling to develop a single workable rocket before the money ran dry. The engineering challenge was immense; numerous other private companies had failed similar attempts. And even if SpaceX succeeded, they would then have to compete for government contracts with titans such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, who had tens of thousands of employees and tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue. SpaceX had fewer than 200 employees and the relative pittance of $100 million in the bank.
In Liftoff, Eric Berger takes readers inside the wild early days that made SpaceX. Focusing on the company’s first four launches of the Falcon 1 rocket, he charts the bumpy journey from scrappy underdog to aerospace pioneer. drawing upon exclusive interviews with dozens of former and current engineers, designers, mechanics, and executives, including Elon Musk. The enigmatic Musk, who founded the company with the dream of one day settling Mars, is the fuel that propels the book, with his daring vision for the future of space.
The dramatic inside story of the first four historic flights that launched SpaceX-and Elon Musk-from a shaky startup into the world's leading edge rocket company. In 2006, SpaceX-a brand-new venture with fewer than 200 employees-rolled its first, single-engine rocket onto a launch pad at Kwajalein Atoll. After a groundbreaking launch from the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Falcon 1 rocket designed by Elon Musk's engineers rose in the air for approximately thirty seconds. Then, its engine flamed out, and the rocket crashed back into the ocean. In 2007, SpaceX undertook a second launch. This time, the rocket rose far into space, but just before reaching orbit it spun out of control. Confident of success in 2008, Musk and his team launched their third rocket with several paying customers. The first stage executed perfectly, but instead of falling away, it thudded into the second stage. Another failure. Elon Musk had only budgeted for three attempts when he founded SpaceX. Out of money and with a single Falcon 1 rocket left in its factory, SpaceX decided to try one last, dramatic launch. Over eight weeks, engineers worked furiously to prepare this final rocket. The fate of Musk's venture mirrored the trajectory of this slender, single-engine rocket aimed toward the skies. If it crashed and burned, so would SpaceX. In September 2008, SpaceX's last chance for success lifted off . . . and accelerated like a dream, soaring into orbit flawlessly. That success would launch a miraculous decade for the company, in which SpaceX grew from building a single-engine rocket to one with a staggering 27 engines; created two different spacecraft, and mastered reusable-rocket descents using mobile drone ships on the open seas. It marked a level of production and achievement that has not been seen since the space race of the 1960s. But these achievements would not have been possible without SpaceX's first four flight tests. Drawing on unparalleled access and exclusive interviews with dozens of former and current employees-engineers, designers, mechanics, and executives, including Elon Musk-Eric Berger tells the complete story of this foundational generation that transformed SpaceX into the world's leading space company. Liftoff includes more than a dozen photographs.
Soon to be a major motion picture, First Man by James Hansen offers the only authorized glimpse into the life of America's most famous astronaut, Neil Armstrong - the man whose "one small step" changed history. In First Man, Hansen explores the life of Neil Armstrong. Based on over 50 hours of interviews with the intensely private Armstrong, who also gave Hansen exclusive access to private documents and family sources, this "magnificent panorama of the second half of the American twentieth century" (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review) is an unparalleled biography of an American icon. When Apollo 11 touched down on the moon's surface in 1969, the first man on the moon became a legend. Hansen vividly recreates Armstrong's career in flying, from his seventy-eight combat missions as a naval aviator flying over North Korea to his formative transatmospheric flights in the rocket-powered X-15 to his piloting Gemini VIII to the first-ever docking in space. For a pilot who cared more about flying to the Moon than he did about walking on it, Hansen asserts, Armstrong's storied vocation exacted a dear personal toll, paid in kind by his wife and children. In the years since the Moon landing, rumors swirled around Armstrong concerning his dreams of space travel, his religious beliefs, and his private life. This book reveals the man behind the myth. In a penetrating exploration of American hero worship, Hansen addresses the complex legacy of the First Man, as an astronaut and as an individual. In First Man, the personal, technological, epic, and iconic blend to form the portrait of a great but reluctant hero who will forever be known as history's most famous space traveler.
The design processes behind a giant leap for mankind. Neil Armstrong in a space suit on the moon remains an iconic representation of America's technological ingenuity. Few know that the Model A-7L pressure suit worn by the Apollo 11 astronauts, and the Model A-7LB that replaced it in 1971, originated at ILC Industries (now ILC Dover, LP), an obscure Delaware industrial firm.Longtime ILC space suit test engineer Bill Ayrey draws on original files and photographs to tell the dramatic story of the company's role in the Apollo Program. Though respected for its early designs, ILC failed to win NASA's faith. When the government called for new suit concepts in 1965, ILC had to plead for consideration before NASA gave it a mere six weeks to come up with a radically different design. ILC not only met the deadline but won the contract. That underdog success led to its greatest challenge: winning a race against time to create a suit that would determine the success or failure of the Apollo missions-and life or death for the astronauts. A fascinating behind-the-scenes history of a vital component of the space program, Lunar Outfitters goes inside the suit that made it possible for human beings to set foot on the Moon.
Are we alone in the universe, or are there other life forms 'out there'? This is one of the most scientifically and philosophically important questions that humanity can ask. Now, in the early 2020s, we are tantalizingly close to an answer. As this book shows, the answer will almost certainly be that life forms are to be found across the Milky Way and beyond. They will be thinly spread, to be sure. Yet the number of inhabited planets probably runs into the trillions. Some are close enough for us to detect evidence of life by analysing their atmospheres. This evidence may be found within a couple of decades. Its arrival will be momentous. But even before it arrives we can anticipate what life elsewhere will be like by examining the ecology and evolution of life on Earth. This book considers the current state of play in relation to these titanic issues.
'This terrific memoir... is utterly gripping' Mail on Sunday 'Read this book and be inspired to reach for the impossible' Brian Greene Many children dream of becoming an astronaut when they grow up, but when a six-year-old Mike Massimino saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon he knew what he wanted to do when he became an adult. But NASA rejected him; then when he applied again they turned him down because of his poor eyesight. For the next year he trained his eyes to work better and finally, at the third time of asking, NASA accepted him. So began Massimino's 18-year career as an astronaut, and the extraordinary lengths he went to to get accepted was only the beginning. In this awe-inspiring memoir, he reveals the hard work, camaraderie and sheer guts involved in the life of an astronaut; he vividly describes what it is like to strap yourself into the Space Shuttle and blast off into space, or the sensation of walking in space, as he did when he completed a mission to service the Hubble telescope. He also talks movingly about the Columbia tragedy, and how it felt to step into the Space Shuttle again in the aftermath of that disaster. Massimino was inspired by the film The Right Stuff, and this book is not only a tribute to those fellow astronauts he worked with, but also a stunning example of someone who had exactly those attributes himself.
In 2017, scientists at an observatory in Hawaii detected an interstellar object near Earth, which they named 'Oumuamua. The more scientists looked at it, the weirder it got - this cigar-shaped object didn't behave like any other asteroid or comet seen in our Solar System before. To Avi Loeb - the very eminent chair of the Harvard astronomy department - it felt like potential evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence and technology and when he said so publically, there was a media storm. No scientist had ever been prepared to go on record saying this before. In Extraterrestrial, Loeb explains what the extraordinary discovery of 'Oumuamua and the latest astronomical research means for our place in the universe as we know it. Through a fascinating tour of the universe from its earliest time, he reveals the latest scientific research into other probably Earth-like planets that could host life - and what this means about our place in the universe as we comfortably know it.
Commercial Uses of Space and Space Tourism combines the perspectives of academics, policy makers and major industry players around three central themes: the international legal challenges posed by the dramatic changes to the spacefaring landscape; the corresponding legal and regulatory responses to these challenges at the national level; and topical questions of global space governance. Chapters cover emerging activities in commercial spacefaring, including space tourism and space transportation, and identify the regulatory issues that may arise in the absence of a clear boundary between airspace and outer space. By taking a pragmatic, inductive approach, the book aims to breathe new life into the discussion of the air-space boundary, while informing readers about the many exciting recent developments in commercial spacefaring. This book will appeal to lecturers, academics and students in space law and air law, as well as policy makers and industry practitioners involved in the regulation of orbital and suborbital commercial spaceflight, both manned and unmanned.
A miracle energy source, Lumite, has been discovered on the moon. The dark days of future Earth - torn apart by war and energy crisis - finally appear to be over. Aggie is the violet-eyed poster girl for the mining company, Lunar Inc, persuaded to campaign for a hopeful new future. But a chance meeting with one of the prisoner-miners, the darkly attractive Danny, changes her mind about everything she knows about her world ...
From Stone Age to space age, people have looked up at the stars and been inspired by their beauty, their patterns, and their majesty. Beneath the Night is a history of humanity, told through our relationship with the night sky. From prehistoric cave art and Ancient Egyptian zodiacs to the modern era of satellites and space exploration, Stuart Clark explores a fascination shared across the world and throughout millennia. It is one that has shaped our scientific understanding; helped us navigate the terrestrial world; provided inspiration for our poets, artists and philosophers; and it has given us a place to project our hopes and fears. In the stars, we can see our past - and ultimately, our fate. This is the awe-inspiring story of the universe, and our place within it.
The launch of the Sputnik satellite in October 1957 changed the
course of human history. In the span of a few years, Soviets sent
the first animal into space, the first man, and the first woman.
These events were a direct challenge to the United States and the
capitalist model that claimed ownership of scientific aspiration
With private space companies launching rockets, satellites, and people at a record pace, and with the U.S. and other governments committing to a future in space, Glenn Harlan Reynolds looks at how we got here, where we're going, and why it matters for all of humanity.
A masterful, genre-defying narrative of the most ambitious science project ever conceived: NASA's deep-space mission to Europa-the Jovian moon where might swim the first known alien life in our solar system-powered by a motley team of obsessives and eccentrics. When scientists discovered the first ocean beyond Earth, they had two big questions: "Is it habitable?" and "How do we get there?" To answer the first, they had to answer the second, and so began a vivacious team's twenty-year odyssey to mount a mission to Europa, the ocean moon of Jupiter. Standing in their way: NASA, fanatically consumed with landing robots on Mars; the White House, which never saw a science budget it couldn't cut; Congress, fixated on going to the moon or Mars-anywhere, really, to give astronauts something to do; rivals in academia, who wanted instead to go to Saturn; and even Jupiter itself, which guards Europa in a pulsing, rippling, radiation belt-a halo of death whose conditions are like those that follow a detonated thermonuclear bomb. The Mission is the Homeric, never-before-told story of modern space exploration, and a magnificent portrait of the inner lives of scientists who study the solar system's mysterious outer planets. David W. Brown chronicles the remarkable saga of how Europa was won, and what it takes to get things done-down here, and up there. Written with verve, humor, and uncanny empathy, The Mission is an exuberant masterclass in how a few determined cogs can change an entire machine.
There's no better guide through mind-expanding questions such as what the nature of space and time is, how we fit within the universe, and how the universe fits within us than Neil deGrasse Tyson. But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in digestible chapters consumable any time and anywhere in the busy day. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry reveals just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.
This encyclopedia provides a snapshot of our current geological knowledge on solid-surface Solar System bodies. Each entry contains information about the features' morphology, its interpretation, proposed formation models, distribution and occurrence, planetary or terrestrial analogs, and research history. The entries are fully referenced. All image captions include original image IDs. More than 600 named planetary feature types are discussed in the encyclopedia, covering a wide range of scales--from micrometers to global scale--and also include landform types (structural or topographic features), parts of landforms, terrain types or surface textures, surface patterns, and features identified at wavelengths extending from visible to radio waves (e.g., albedo, thermal infrared, and radar features). The book covers features formed by impact, aeolian, magmatic, volcanic, tectonic, fluvial, lacustrine, marine and coastal, mass movement, sedimentary, desiccation, liquefaction, periglacial, glacial, nival, sublimation, collapse, weathering, and selective erosion or other, including complex processes. Depending on the information and formation models available, the entries have different approaches. Some of them discuss their subject from the point of view of the inferred process or origin, others are morphology or description-based. As a default, entries focus on extraterrestrial landforms, while also mentioning their proposed terrestrial analogs. Most planetary landforms are not body-specific, but some have no known terrestrial counterparts. Named historic (obsolete) landform types are also included to provide reference for previous key research papers. To make it easier to find features with related origins, the encyclopedia contains entries that list landforms based on their formative processes. It also lists body-specific features on Mercury (5 feature types), Venus (40), the Earth (13), the Moon (15), Mars (87), Io (7), Europa (17), Callisto (7), Titan (9), Triton (2), mid-sized satellites (8), and small bodies (3). Also included are entries on the 51 planetary feature descriptor terms approved by IAU.
The search for life on Mars-and the moral issues confronting us as we prepare to send humans there Does life exist on Mars? The question has captivated humans for centuries, but today it has taken on new urgency. As space agencies gear up to send the first manned missions to the Red Planet, we have a responsibility to think deeply about what kinds of life may already dwell there-and whether we have the right to invite ourselves in. Telling the complete story of our ongoing quest to answer one of the most tantalizing questions in astronomy, David Weintraub grapples with the profound moral and ethical questions confronting us as we prepare to introduce an unpredictable new life form-ourselves-into the Martian biosphere. Now with an afterword that discusses the most recent discoveries, Life on Mars explains what we need to know before we go.
Featuring over seventy images from the heroic age of space exploration, Through Astronaut Eyes presents the story of how human daring along with technological ingenuity allowed people to see the Earth and stars as they never had before. Photographs from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs tell powerful and compelling stories that continue to have cultural resonance to this day, not just for what they revealed about the spaceflight experience, but also as products of a larger visual rhetoric of exploration. The photographs tell us as much about space and the astronauts who took them as their reception within an American culture undergoing radical change throughout the turbulent 1960s. This book explores the origins and impact of astronaut still photography from 1962 to 1972, the period when human spaceflight first captured the imagination of people around the world. Photographs taken during those three historic programs are much admired and reprinted, but rarely seriously studied. This book suggests astronaut photography is particularly relevant to American culture based on how easily the images were shared through reproduction and circulation in a very visually oriented society. Space photography's impact at the crossroads of cultural studies, the history of exploration and technology, and public memory illuminates its continuing importance to American identity.
Much has been written about Neil Armstrong, America's modern hero and history's most famous space traveler. Yet shy of fame and never one to steal the spotlight Armstrong was always reluctant to discuss his personal side of events. Here for the first time is the story of Neil's life of flight, shared for five decades with his trusted friend Jay Barbree. Working from 50 years of conversations he had with Neil, from notes, interviews, NASA spaceflight transcripts, and remembrances of those Armstrong trusted, Barbree writes about Neil's three passions: flight, family, and friends. This is the inside story of Neil Armstrong from the time he flew combat missions in the Korean War, to when he flew Apollo-Eleven to the moon's Sea of Tranquility. Together Neil and Jay discussed everything, from his love of flying, to the war years, and of course his time in space. The book is full of never-before-seen photos and personal details written down for the first time, including what Armstrong really felt when he took that first step on the moon, what life in NASA was like, and what he felt the future of space exploration should be. As the only reporter to have covered all 166 American astronaut flights and moon landings Jay knows these events intimately. Through his friendship with Neil and his dedicated research, Barbree brings us the most accurate account of his friend's life of flight, the book he planned for twenty years.
The Magnesium Technology Symposium, the event on which this collection is based, is one of the largest yearly gatherings of magnesium specialists in the world. Papers represent all aspects of the field, ranging from primary production to applications to recycling. Moreover, papers explore everything from basic research findings to industrialization. Magnesium Technology 2020 covers a broad spectrum of current topics, including alloys and their properties; cast products and processing; wrought products and processing; forming, joining, and machining; corrosion and surface finishing; and structural applications. In addition, there is coverage of new and emerging applications.
In the summer of 1975, NASA brought together a team of physicists, engineers, and space scientists-along with architects, urban planners, and artists-to design large-scale space habitats for millions of people. This Summer Study was led by Princeton physicist Gerard O'Neill, whose work on this topic had previously been funded by countercultural icon Stewart Brand's Point Foundation. Two painters, the artist and architect Rick Guidice and the planetary science illustrator Don Davis, created renderings for the project that would be widely circulated over the next years and decades and even included in testimony before a Congressional subcommittee. A product of its time, this work is nevertheless relevant to contemporary modes of thinking about architecture. Space Settlements examines these plans for life in space as serious architectural and spatial proposals.
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