The Path to the Space Shuttle: The Evolution of Lifting Reentry Technology
AIR FORCE TEST CENTER EDWARDS AFB CA EDWARDS AFB United States
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Few concepts in the two hundred year history of aerospace development have held greater fascination than that of flying into space and returning to earth following a lifting reentry through the atmosphere and few concepts have faced so profound a series of technical challenges. Long before the developers of the present-day Space Shuttle first set drafting pens to paper, the concept of lifting reentry had already sparked controversy and generated a number of occasionally contradictory proposals for actual spacecraft. The evolutionary path to the first winged reentry spacecraft is marked by numerous false starts, roads not taken, innovative decision making, and carefully thought-out analysis of just what such spacecraft should be expected to do. It is hoped that this historical monograph will improve understanding of how and why Shuttle came to be, and that it will serve to promote further research on the evolution of manned spaceflight in the twentieth century and the continuing relationship between government and industry in fostering aerospace development.
- Manned Spacecraft
- Spacecraft Trajectories and Reentry