Start reading How Spacecraft Fly: Spaceflight Without Formulae on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

How Spacecraft Fly: Spaceflight Without Formulae [Kindle Edition]

Graham Swinerd
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £15.00
Kindle Price: £14.25 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £0.75 (5%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £14.25  
Hardcover £15.00  
Paperback £15.00  
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: Up to 70% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.

Book Description

The aim of this popular science text is to explain aerodynamic and astrodynamic flight without the use of mathematics, in an informal style, for non-technical readers who are interested in spaceflight and spacecraft.
The book will open with a concise introductory chapter, chronicling the ‘space age’ up to the present, and a brief ‘forward look’ into near-future developments. Chapter 2 provides the historical context upon which the current developments in spaceflight have been built. Orbital motion will be introduced in Chapter 3, and how to get there using launch vehicles is addressed in Chapter 4. Chapters 5 and 6 look at how spacecraft are designed, and Chapter 7 addresses the additional design constraints imposed if the spacecraft has a human crew on board. Chapter 8 gives examples of current and proposed spacecraft missions, both Earth orbiting and interplanetary. Chapter 9 will look at near future manned flight developments – for example, a mission to Mars and/or space tourism. The book closes with a concluding chapter, which reflects on prospects for the future of robotic and manned space exploration.

Product Description


From the reviews:

"Fortunately Graham Swinerd, reader in astronautics at the University of Southampton, has penned... a maths-free guidebook... if only all popular science books were as clearly presented!" (Four out of five stars, Sean Blair, Sky at Night Magazine, May 2009)

"There is a great deal of useful information that you do not find readily elsewhere and given the rather dry nature of the subject, the book is written in a lucid and engaging style that makes enjoyable reading..." (Robin Flegg, Astronomy Now, May 2009)

"Aimed at non-technical readers, the book requires ‘no prior knowledge’. … The core of the book includes discussion of the various spacecraft subsystems, such as power, propulsion and communications, and a commentary on design. … The book makes reference to ‘Star Trek’, warp drive and the space elevator, but only by way of populist garnish." (Mark Williamson, IET Knowledge Network, May, 2009)

"This work is a basic introduction to spacecraft (mainly satellite) engineering … . The material in this volume should be accessible to any undergraduate who has taken introductory courses in math and physics. … This work is so fundamental and relevant to the modern world that it will be important for all libraries serving undergraduates. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers, lower- and upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and two-year technical program students." (A. M. Strauss, Choice, Vol. 46 (8), April, 2009)

"The book concentrates on fundamental topics such as types of orbits, forces influencing orbits … and the multitude of systems and subsystems associated with spacecraft design. … This is certainly an interesting and highly readable volume which offers one of the best introductions to spacecraft engineering … . In conclusion, the author expresses the hope ‘that this book will play a … part in inspiring young people to get involved in space science and engineering’ — a hope that I heartily endorse." (Peter Bond, The Observatory, Vol. 129 (1212), October, 2009)

“The challenge of making rocketry and spaceflight understandable to the layman is … addressed by Professor Swinerd in this new and attractively produced book. … Written in a friendly style and extensively illustrated with images and graphics the book is well structured and indexed. … For the non specialist, as well as the non technical, this is a novel and interesting starting point for an armchair journey into space.” (Pat Norris, The Aeronautical Journal, July, 2009)

From the Author

This contains more information about its contents and the author. It also, usefully, has a number of published reviews, so you can get a feel for what other people think about the book.

The website has additional features, such as links to useful space-related webites, a picture gallery and a contact form so that you can give the author feedback on what you thought of the book. Also you can join in with the author's blogg if you wish.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5831 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Springer New York; 1 edition (10 Dec. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387765727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387765723
  • ASIN: B001VNCF5S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #412,716 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3 star
2 star
1 star
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great journey into space 25 Jan. 2010
This is an excellent book. I picked up a copy with very little knowledge of the subject,and was amazed - yes, by how much I didn't know but also by how well Swinerd explains his subject. He promises a book without equations and formulae and achieves it. This is clear to follow, humourous and engaging. Successive chapters deal with the various types of orbit and how to reach them and then the process by which a spaceship is built. He's an expert in the field but doesn't wear his knowledge too thick. He even looks into the future and offers a hopeful account of humanity's further engagement with the stars. This book is well worth reading.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review 2 Nov. 2009
The book provides a thorough overview of spacecraft design that is easy to understand and is well suited to those without any prior exposure to the field.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and entertaining 17 Mar. 2010
By G. Carr
As a science fiction fan with little or no scientific knowledge I found this book provided a fascinating insight into the basics of space orbits and why we are able to send huge lumps of metal out into space,some keeping close to earth to help with the way we live, some flying on to provide even more data to help us understand our world.

Graham Swinerd maintains a light touch always keeping the flow of information entertaining but without compromising the necessary science. A good starting point for anyone interested in spaceflight.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spacecraft without maths 11 Dec. 2010
I reckon this book will be very useful to everyone who, for study or personal interest, is interested in knowing more about spacecraft, how they are designed and how they fly. Concepts are explained without getting too much into detail, avoiding formulae which might put some people off reading.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Taught me a lot 15 Jan. 2012
By Michael - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I liked this book. It's a lot easier to read than an engineering book. I liked the way the author explained some fundamental concepts about satellites for the lay person. As a non-engineer, I still found some of the book to be a challenge, but I still learned a lot. I especially liked the historical perspective on physics at the beginning. It's a very interesting read and an effective approach for tackling such a difficult topic.
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a good none technically book. 5 Mar. 2014
By Jimmy - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I find this book very informative. If you love space, and you have always wondered certain thing about how satellites work and want to know more about space environment this is a great book. I would certainly recommend this book for a high school or even a middle school students.
5.0 out of 5 stars really good book 25 Mar. 2014
By Ozgur Eser Akdemir - Published on
I think you must read this book to get a good start in space technology. You will easily read it and see how things can be explained so smoothly. I am sure It will be one of your standard desktop reference books.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category