Rocketing Into the Future
The History and Technology of Rocket Planes
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About the author
For the last ten years, Michel Van Pelt has been working as a cost engineer, system engineer and as Concurrent Design Facility team leader for the technical center of the European Space Agency ESA in the Netherlands. He is involved in many ESA space projects during many phases, which has given him a uniqe insight in the definition, conceptual design, development, launch and operation of spacecraft. Specifically, through hiswork in ESA's Concurrent Design Facility for conceptual design studies, Van Pelt has a deep understanding of the various scientific, technical, financial and political issues and constraints that drive the development of spacecraft, as well as a broad knowledge of innovative ideas for future launchers and space missions.
Van Pelt has written many articles on space and is an editor and writer for two Dutch spaceflight magazines. In addition, he regularly does presentations on space related topics for student associations etc. He has three books published through Springer/Praxis: "Space Tourism: Adventures in Earth Orbit and Beyond" (2005), "Space Invaders: How Robotic Spacecraft Explore the Solar System" (2006), and "Space Tethers and Space Elevators" (2009).
This book describes the history, technology, and future of rocket planes. Michel van Pelt takes us on a journey into this fascinating world, examining the unusual concepts and actual flying machines that have been devised over the last hundred years. He recounts stories from the early pioneers who attached simple rockets to their wooden glider airplanes as well as tales of modern high-tech research craft. The author visits museums where rare examples of early rocket planes are kept and modern laboratories where future spaceplanes are being developed. He explains the technology in an easily understandable way, describing the various types of rocket airplanes, including the most important specifications.
Before coming to conclusions in the final chapter, Michel van Pelt evaluates the designs of future spaceplanes, reviewing various concepts and where they are in their development. He describes the cutting edge research via demonstrator vehicles and operational use of these vehicles. He also discusses the replacement of the Space Shuttle with a seemingly old-fashioned capsule system, the parallel developments in suborbital spaceplanes such as SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo, the issue of piloted versus automatic flight, and related developments in the airline industry and military aircraft.
Springer New York
; May 2012
377 pages; ISBN 9781461432005Read online
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Title: Rocketing Into the Future
Author: Michel van Pelt
Illustrations.- Author's preface.- Chapter 1: Introduction.- Chapter 2: A crash course in rocket plane design.- Chapter 3: Germany's wonder weapons.- Chapter 4: Non-German wartime rocket fighters.- Chapter 5: The rise and fall of the rocket interceptor.- Chapter 6: Breaking the barrier.- Chapter 7: Rocket plane spaceflight.- Chapter 8: Future spaceplanes.- Chapter 9: Joyriding a rocket plane.- Chapter 10: Man versus robot.- Chapter 11: Conclusions.- Appendix: Aircraft maximum velocity and altitude evolution.- Bibliography.- Index.
In the press
From the reviews:
“Whatever level of interest you have in rocket-powered human aviation (and hence spaceflight), this book covers it. For someone getting into the subject for the first time there is more than enough detail … . the book gives the basics of aeronautics and rocketry, which are well-explained with some helpful line diagrams. … British Interplanetary Society members are no doubt familiar with Skylon; if you are not you will be once you have read this book!” (Malcolm Smith, Astronomy Now, July, 2013)
“This book covers the history of rocket planes from earliest endeavors to the present designs of suborbital rocket planes marketed for space tourism purposes. … The book is well written, well organized, and well illustrated. A useful resource for people interested in both aviation history and the history of space technology. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.” (A. M. Strauss, Choice, Vol. 50 (4), December, 2012)