ASI W9600301r1.2

Moon Miners' Manifesto

#91 December 1995

Section the Artemis Data Book

MMM#91 Book Review column

by Bob Bramscher

Introduction to Space:
the Science of Spaceflight

By Thomas D. Damon, 2nd Edition 1995
278 pp., Paper, $29.50, Krieger Publishing Co.
PO Box 9542, Melbourne, FL 32902
ISBN 0-89464-053-5

  One of the most frustrating problems for space advocates not technically oriented is understanding some of the more sophisticated scientific and mathematical principles underlying the efforts we are promoting. Many space advocates, like myself, are liberal arts majors who took some basic math and science courses but are not familiar with many topics whose understanding is needed to fully comprehend the technical aspects of our space program.

  Thomas D. Damon was associated with Pike's Peak Community College in Colorado Springs when it was decided that it would be appropriate to offer a general space education course for liberal arts students. A search was made for an appropriate text book and, having found none, a decision was made to produce such a volume. According to the author, materials for the text book were assembled from a collection of NASA pamphlets, contractor reports, government publications, and sections from other basic science books.

  The resulting work is now in its second edition and has become a book of real substance. The most difficult subject for most, mathematics, is dealt with in a novel and helpful way. Throughout the book, a series of twenty separate sections (Math Boxes) are included at appropriate points. The Math Boxes are written at a basic algebra level and are used to introduce mathematical concepts to the nonmathematical text. This arrangement is for those who wish to pursue a more technical understanding of the scientific concepts contained in the book. These Math Boxes present the most fundamental space mechanics and space science concepts at a level that is quite easily understood by a liberal arts college graduate.

  The book begins with a chapter briefly summarizing the history of the space program from the first Chinese rockets through the flights of the space shuttle. Following are three chapters devoted to the science of propulsion, orbital mechanics, and the problems of functioning in the space environment. The space environment chapter discusses those issues which must be dealt with if man is to survive in an environment beyond the protection of the Earth's atmosphere.

  The fifth through seventh chapters discuss the satellites commonly used in Earth orbit. Covered are communication, remote sensing, weather, space power, and military reconnaissance satellites. One of the major organizational changes in the second edition is the incorporation of the space ballistic missile defense chapter into the application satellites section. This obviously reflects a decreased emphasis on the ballistic threat from the [former] Soviet Union.

  Also included in the application satellite section is a thorough discussion of astronomy from space. The Apollo program is described as are the unmanned planetary probes that have provided us with so much new information on the planets and moons of our solar system. The space telescope and the other Earth orbiting observatories are also briefly discussed.

  Chapters eight to ten are devoted to discussions of the manned space program. An entire chapter covers the design and operations of the space shuttle. Following that are two chapters discussing the subjects of living and working in Earth orbit. A substantial amount of detail is provided concerning the questions arising from man's long-term exposure to micro-gravity. Also covered in detail are the possible practical applications of the micro-gravity near vacuum conditions available in lower orbit.

  Chapters eleven and twelve include the issues relating to the operations of Earth-orbiting space stations and the potential for colonies on other worlds. There is a final chapter on the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and the efforts to determine whether such life exists.

  The book is a valuable contribution to the literature of space flight. It succeeds, in that it brings together in one volume, at a level that is easily comprehended by the intelligent layman, all the scientific topics that are of significance to space advocates. It certainly is not a book that one is likely to sit down and read, cover to cover. However, as issues arise with which there is a need to become more familiar, the book will always be available to provide the required information. It is the only volume of which I am aware that fulfills such a role. It certainly deserves a place on every space advocate's book shelf. BB

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