Issue #4(22) 2019 Lounge

Visions of spaceflight before the Space Age

Michael L Ciancone NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, USA

Whether exploring the highest mountain peaks in the world, the deepest regions of the oceans, or outer space and our planetary neighbours, travellers have used books and magazine articles to document their adventures. In this article, adapted from Foreword to Spaceflight: An Illustrated Bibliography of pre-1958 Books on Rocketry & Space Travel, NASA engineer and avid collector of books about rockets and spaceflight, Michael Ciancone provides a visual and literary ‘photo album’ to pique our interest in the literary foundations of human spaceflight.

As well as presenting unique historical records, these publications have provided a wonderful method for capturing the dreams, plans and accomplishments of explorers through the years.

They were intended to inform and educate readers, whether academic, professional, or the general public. Sometimes the purpose was to provide publicity for explorers seeking money to support their activities. This was particularly true in the early days when much of the work was done by individuals or small groups of like-minded individuals. At other times, the purpose was to document the results of plans and calculations to share with peers as the exploration effort grew and gained momentum.

This article celebrates our spaceflight heritage, along with dreams of the future, from the perspective of the past. It is not meant to provide an exhaustive history of spaceflight and rocket development. Rather, I am using history to provide context for books that were published along the way.

To continue reading this premium article, subscribe now for unlimited access to all online content

If you already have a login and password to access www.room.eu.com - Please log in to be able to read all the articles of the site.

Popular articles

See also

Astronautics

Building a digital democracy in a planetary pandemic

Environment

Monitoring marine litter by satellite

Astronautics

UAE’s ambitious plans for space sector growth

Popular articles

A future mining operation on the Moon, as envisaged by artist James Vaughan, using giant solar mirrors for illuminating a sunless crater. Opinion

Morality, rights and responsibilities in space

Experimental DRAG RACER orbital debris mission payload, developed by Millennium Space Systems, planned for launch by a Rocket Lab Electron this autumn. Astronautics

Tackling space debris - a global priority