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Description - Single Stage to Orbit by Andrew J. Butrica

Behind the glories and tragedies that make headlines and move the nation, the story of the space shuttle is inextricably bound to the lesser-known but no less engrossing drama of the search for a reusable single-stage-to-orbit rocket. In this book, Andrew J. Butrica tells this story, going back to the first glimmerings of the idea in the 1920s, when it was dismissed as technically unfeasible, and following it to its fruition in the midst of the Cold War as a very real government programme and operational flight vehicle. This is not, however, the story of a single idea, but rather the history of a vision that brought together a few pioneers of space technology and several concepts, new and old. To the first and oldest idea - that of the reusable rocket-powered single-stage-to-orbit vehicle - were added the concepts of "aircraft-like" operations, of using an "X", or experimental, vehicle, and of running a programme with a "faster, cheaper, smaller" managerial approach. Butrica describes how these ideas came together in the heart of what President Eisenhower dubbed the military-industrial complex. He traces the interplay of technology and politics that served the conservative space agenda and that ultimately triumphed in a realization of the vision of space commercialization and militarization resting on a foundation of inexpensive, reliable space transport.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801873386
ISBN-10: 080187338X
Format: Hardback
(229mm x 152mm x 25mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date: 22-Oct-2003
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Andrew J. Butrica

Andrew J. Butrica, a historical consultant, is the author of, among other works, To See the Unseen: A History of Planetary Radar Astronomy, which won the 1998 Richard W. Leopold Prize awarded by the Organization of American Historians.