Friday, February 1, 2013

Arrival of Book on Propulsion Technology Marks Anniversary of Space Exploration Breakthrough

The twin solid-rocket boosters on the Space Shuttle provided 71.4 percent of the thrust during liftoff and the initial stage of ascent of this remarkable space-launch vehicle during its more than 30 years of operation.

This February -- the same month J. D. Hunley's award-winning book The Development of Propulsion Technology for U. S. Space-Launch Vehicles, 1926-1991is set to hit bookshelves in paperback -- will mark a significant month in these boosters' testing more than 30 years ago.

On February 17, 1979, the fourth and final developmental test of the huge booster had a successful firing, and less than a year later, on February 13, 1980, the final qualification test also was successful.

Hunley's book describes these and hundreds of other milestones in the development of propulsion technology for U. S. space-launch vehicles, which have enabled the launching of hundreds of satellites into orbit, of other space vehicles that carried American astronauts to the moon, and of space observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope with its amazing images of the universe, among many other feats.

"[Hunley's book] fills what is unquestionably a tremendous gap in the literature of space access [and] does a superb job of tracing the main lines of development of the major rocket technologies," said aerospace historian Roger Launius.

For more on Hunley’s book, click here.

--Paige Bukowski