Deep Space Propulsion

A Roadmap to Interstellar Flight

Authors: Long, K. F.

  • Brings together serious ideas from scientists around the world investigating groundbreaking new technologies for spacecraft propulsion systems
  • Separates the realistic from the fantastic and makes clear which popular concepts in science fiction are based on unproven physics and which are based on real science
  • Presents convincing arguments on how we can achieve the seemingly impossible task of sending robotic explorers many millions of miles to distant stars in the next few decades
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About this book

The technology of the next few decades could possibly allow us to explore with robotic probes the closest stars outside our Solar System, and maybe even observe some of the recently discovered planets circling these stars. This book looks at the reasons for exploring our stellar neighbors and at the technologies we are developing to build space probes that can traverse the enormous distances between the stars.

In order to reach the nearest stars, we must first develop a propulsion technology that would take our robotic probes there in a reasonable time. Such propulsion technology has radically different requirements from conventional chemical rockets, because of the enormous distances that must be crossed. Surprisingly, many propulsion schemes for interstellar travel have been suggested and await only practical engineering solutions and the political will to make them a reality. This is a result of the tremendous advances in astrophysics that have been made in recent decades and the perseverance and imagination of tenacious theoretical physicists. This book explores these different propulsion schemes – all based on current physics – and the challenges they present to physicists, engineers, and space exploration entrepreneurs.

This book will be helpful to anyone who really wants to understand the principles behind and likely future course of interstellar travel and who wants to recognizes the distinctions between pure fantasy (such as Star Trek’s ‘warp drive’) and methods that are grounded in real physics and offer practical technological solutions for exploring the stars in the decades to come.

About the authors

Kelvin Long was born in Cambridge, England. He holds a Bachelors degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Masters degree in Astrophysics, both from Queen Mary College University of London. He has been a college and university teacher and served for several years in the Parachute Regiment Volunteer Reserve of the British Army. He currently works as a physicist in industry. He has published numerous papers and articles on the subject of astrophysics and space exploration and is currently the Assistant Editor of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. He has also contributed to many other publications on interstellar travel. He has appeared on the Austrian Broadcasting Radio Station FM4 as well as in the documentary How to Colonize the Stars produced by Christian Darkin. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a chartered member of the Institute of Physics, a member of The Planetary Society, a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, and an associate member of the International Association for Astronomical Artists. He is a Practitioner of the Tau Zero Foundation, which actively promotes and coordinates international research into interstellar flight and within this capacity was the co-founder of an interstellar research initiative called Project Icarus. He is happily married to Gemma and likes to spend his spare time reading and writing science fiction, spacecraft model building, and using his Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

Reviews

From the book reviews:

“This is a readable, insightful and personal history of interstellar travel thinking with a focus on propulsion … . each chapter has an ‘introduction’ providing a short overview of the chapter while the ‘practice exercises’ at the end are to stimulate discussion. … The theoretical background presented here by Long deserves to be read and the bibliography deserves to be considered as a starting point for anyone interested in these topics. The colour illustrations are very helpful.” (Anders Hansson, The Aeronautical Journal, November, 2014)

“Kelvin has taken the reader from the basic, simple principles of reaction propulsion … and on to the exotic world of deep-space journeys. … The most valuable aspect of this book is that it never bucks difficult issues … . If there is one book from which to gather all essential aspects of deep-space propulsion and stellar transportation systems this is it. It is both required reading and an essential reference … . useful for the layreader and the professional.” (Spaceflight, Vol. 54 (7), July, 2012)

Table of contents (18 chapters)

  • Reaching for the Stars

    Long, K. F.

    Pages 1-10

  • The Dream of Flight and the Vision of Tomorrow

    Long, K. F.

    Pages 11-26

  • Fundamental Limitations to Achieving Interstellar Flight

    Long, K. F.

    Pages 27-38

  • Aviation: The Pursuit of Speed, Distance, Altitude, and Height

    Long, K. F.

    Pages 39-48

  • Astronautics: The Development and Science of Rockets

    Long, K. F.

    Pages 49-75

Buy this book

eBook $34.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-0607-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $44.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-0606-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Rent the ebook  
  • Rental duration: 1 or 6 month
  • low-cost access
  • online reader with highlighting and note-making option
  • can be used across all devices
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Deep Space Propulsion
Book Subtitle
A Roadmap to Interstellar Flight
Authors
Copyright
2012
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
eBook ISBN
978-1-4614-0607-5
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4614-0607-5
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4614-0606-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXI, 367
Number of Illustrations and Tables
51 b/w illustrations, 22 illustrations in colour
Topics