Chief rocket engineer of the Third Reich and one of the fathers of the U.S. space program, Wernher von Braun is a source of consistent fascination. Glorified as a visionary and vilified as a war criminal, he was a man of profound moral complexities, whose intelligence and charisma were coupled with an enormous and, some would say, blinding ambition. Based on new sources, Neufeld's biography delivers a meticulously researched and authoritative portrait of the creator of the V-2 rocket and his times, detailing how he was a man caught between morality and progress, between his dreams of the heavens and the earthbound realities of his life.
Drawing on Van Allen’s correspondence and publications, years of interviews with him as well as with more than a hundred other people, and declassified documents from such archives as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Kennedy Space Center, and the Applied Physics Laboratory, Foerstner describes Van Allen’s life from his Iowa childhood to his first experiments at White Sands to the years of Explorer I until his death in 2006.
Often called the father of space science, James Van Allen led the way to mapping a new solar system based on the solar wind, massive solar storms, and cosmic rays. Pioneer 10 alone sent him more than thirty years of readings that helped push our recognition of the boundary of the solar system billions of miles past Pluto. Abigail Foerstner’s compelling biography charts the eventful life and time of this trailblazing physicist.
In the 1930s, rockets were all the rage in Germany, the focus both of scientists hoping to fly into space and of the German armed forces, looking to circumvent the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles. One of the key figures in this period was Wernher von Braun, an engineer who designed the rockets that became the devastating V-2. As the war came to its chaotic conclusion, von Braun escaped from the ruins of Nazi Germany, and was taken to America where he began developing missiles for the US Army. Meanwhile, the US Air Force was looking ahead to a time when men would fly in space, and test pilots like Neil Armstrong were flying cutting-edge, rocket-powered aircraft in the thin upper atmosphere.
Breaking the Chains of Gravity tells the story of America's nascent space program, its scientific advances, its personalities and the rivalries it caused between the various arms of the US military. At this point getting a man in space became a national imperative, leading to the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, otherwise known as NASA.
Opening Space Research: Dreams, Technology, and Scientific Discovery
is George Ludwig's account of the early development of space-based electromagnetic physics, with a focus on the first U.S. space launches and the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts. Narrated by the person who developed many of the instruments for the early Explorer spacecraft during the 1950s and participated directly in the scientific research, it draws heavily upon the author's voluminous collection of laboratory notes and other papers, upon the Van Allen archive, and upon a wide array of other sources. This book presents very detailed discussions of historic events in a highly readable (semitechnical), first-person form. More than that, though, Opening Space Research brings to the forefront the entire team of scientists who made these accomplishments possible, providing an extensive index of names to enhance and complete the historical record. Authoritative and unique, this book will be of interest to space scientists, science historians, and anyone interested in space history and the first U.S. space launches.
Before 1955, the concept of an artificial satellite had been demonstrated only on paper. The first nation to transform theory into practice would gain advantages in science, the Cold War propaganda contest, and the military balance of power. Visionaries such as America’s Wernher von Braun and Russia’s Sergey Korolev knew these fields of endeavor would be affected by the launch of a satellite. Moved by patriotism, inquisitiveness, and pride, people on both sides of the Iron Curtain put forth heroic efforts to make that first satellite possible.
Some aspects of this story, like the Navy’s NOTSNIK satellite project, are almost unknown. Even some details of well-known programs, such as the appearance of America’s pioneering Explorer 1 satellite and the contributions made by its rival, Project Vanguard, are generally misremembered. In this book, authors Matt Bille and Erika Lishock tell the whole story of the first space race. They trace the tale from the origins of spaceflight theory and through the military and political events that engendered the all-out efforts needed to turn dreams into reality and thus shape the modern world.
Veteran science journalist William E Burrows offers a bold new mission for the U.S. space program: to protect the Earth from the ever-growing number of perils that threaten our way of life – and even our very survival.
We are living through one of the most dangerous times in human history. Nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons technology are proliferating, and missile technology is falling into more and more hands. Extreme natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, fires, and earthquakes, are becoming increasingly costly – not only in dollars, but in lives – as population expands. Environmental crises threaten to provoke massive famines and widespread social collapse. Asteroids the size of battleships streak within striking distance of the earth every year.
One strategy offers the best hope of protecting us from all of these dangers – a revitalized national space program that coordinates efforts in global defense, in environmental protection, in communications, and in military security. The Survival Imperative offers an impassioned argument for this bold initiative.
To demonstrate the urgency of his cause, Burrows presents a vivid scenario: an impact by a moderately large asteroid that triggers a series of nuclear exchanges, environmental devastation, and the slow disintegration of civilization. And he examines the existing space program from the heady days of the Moon landing through the political compromises that have characterized the history of NASA in the 35 years following our retreat from the Moon.
Most of all, Burrows warns that the primary obstacle to achieving a true planetary defense program is not financial or scientific, but social–an unwillingness to acknowledge the urgency of the crisis, and to take the political risks needed to address it. The question, says Burrows, is not whether we can do it, but whether we will act before it's too late.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
But what if it had not turned out this way? What if the U-2 flight had been delayed? If the confrontation had set off a nuclear war, what would have happened to the United States and Soviet Union in 1962? What kind of account would a historian have written in a world scarred by nuclear war?
Eric G. Swedin draws on research made available after the Soviet Union’s collapse to examine what could have happened. Top U.S. military officers all urged stronger action against Cuba than the naval blockade, including a bombing campaign and even a full-scale invasion. Unknown to the Americans, meanwhile, the Soviet Union had tactical nuclear weapons in Cuba and were prepared to use them.
The 1962 crisis had many possible outcomes. Positing an alternate history helps us better appreciate the dangers of that tense time. Such counterfactual speculation shows what the Cuban missile crisis could have wrought and how it was truly one of the most important moments of the twentieth century.