2012, XVIII, 366 p. 162 illus., 60 illus. in color.
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Presents the technical as well as economic challenges related to spaceplane development
Looks at rocket planes in fiction and popular culture and discusses how realistic these have been in terms of design, size, performance, and maneuverability in space
Describes in an engaging and clear way how rockets and aircraft work while pointing out the most important features of today's advanced rocket planes
Rocketing into the Future journeys into the exciting world of rocket planes, examining the exotic concepts and actual flying vehicles that have been devised over the last one hundred years. Lavishly illustrated with over 150 photographs, it recounts the history of rocket planes from the early pioneers who attached simple rockets on to their wooden glider airplanes to the modern world of high-tech research vehicles.
The book then looks at the possibilities for the future. The technological and economic challenges of the Space Shuttle proved insurmountable, and thus the program was unable to fulfill its promise of low-cost access to space. However, the burgeoning market of suborbital space tourism may yet give the necessary boost to the development of a truly reusable spaceplane.
Content Level »Popular/general
Keywords »Aeronautics aircraft developments - Automated versus piloted flight - Future rocket technology - Innovative space technology - Rocket engines - Russian Buran shuttle - Science fiction spaceships explained - Space exploration - Space shuttle - Space transportation - Spacecraft engineering - X-15 Spiral X-20 DynaSoar