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Spacex: Making Commercial Spaceflight a Reality (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration) Paperback – 15 Jun 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2013 edition (15 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1461455138
  • ISBN-13: 978-1461455134
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.8 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

2012 - the year when the first ever privately-developed spacecraft visited the International Space Station.

This is the story of how one company is transforming commercial space flight. It describes the extraordinary feats of engineering and human achievement that have resulted in the world's first fully reusable launch vehicles and the prospect of human travel to Mars.
SpaceX - The First Ten Years:

- explores the philosophy behind the success of SpaceX;
- explains the practical management that enables SpaceX to keep it simple, reliable, and affordable;
- details the developmentof the Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets and the technology of the Merlin engines;
- describes the collaboration with NASA;
- introduces current SpaceX projects, including the Grasshopper reusable launch vehicle and the Stratolaunch System.

SpaceX - The First Ten Years is a portrait of one of the most spectacular spaceflight triumphs of the 21st century, one that is laying the foundation for humanity to become a spacefaring civilization.

About the Author

Dr. Erik Seedhouse worked as Astronaut Training Consultant for Bigelow Aerospace in 2005, a company for whom he wrote the Spaceflight Participants Flight Surgeon’s Manual. He also developed astronaut-training protocols for future spaceflight participants and wrote and edited several chapters of Bigelow Aerospace’s Astronaut Training Manual. Erik is a research scientist specializing in environmental life sciences and physiology, the subject in which he obtained his Ph.D. in Physiology while working for the European Space Agency between 1996 and 1998. In 2009, he was one of the final candidates for selection as an astronaut in the CSA’s Astronaut Recruitment Campaign. He is the Training Director for Astronauts for Hire (A4H) and is the Canadian Forces’ High Risk Acceleration Training Officer, which means he spins CF pilots in Canada’s centrifuge. He is the author of several space exploration titles, and his most recent “Astronaut’s for Hire” was published in January 2012.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By David Monks on 23 Nov 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book. Bit light on technical details, but worth the read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Not bad, depending on what you are looking for 25 July 2013
By Philip Trubey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The reviewer complaining about pictures is really, really picky. Most of the pictures/tables/diagrams in this book are fine. The ones he picks on could be better, but sometime it is due to archival photos (an experimental rocket from the 1960s, come on!).

Anyways, about the book itself: The unfortunate part of the book is that the author didn't have any access to Musk or any of the executive team. Most of the book is sourced from publicly available information. An example of this is on page 62, 63 where the author actually asks himself why the Falcon 1 was abandoned. He gives some theories and guesses, but he says he really doesn't know. When writing a book like this, I would have expected the author to do some detective work and find out! Start talking to anyone at SpaceX and keep plugging away until you figure out the answer.

The book does give a good overview of the competitive landscape and how the various NASA funding programs worked. And it does go into some level of detail about the how the various rocket engines and space capsules function. The engineering information can get quite detailed at points.

The book could have been organized better and could have used several more editing passes.

Bottom line - if you are looking for an in depth book of what SpaceX is like from the inside the company, this book isn't for you. If you are relatively new to space technology and want to know what SpaceX is all about and how it fits into the competitive jigsaw puzzle, this book will help and be informative.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Not Your Father's Spacecraft Company! 7 Aug 2013
By Terry Sunday - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having recently retired after a long career with one of the "Big Three" aerospace corporations, I have always had a pretty dim view of the privitization of spaceflight. I guess I was just "old school" enough to believe, deep down but without any objective analysis, that spaceflight was and always would be the province of governments. My career taught me, at the visceral level, that putting things into Earth orbit and beyond is risky, complicated and expensive, and I figured, without really thinking too much about it, that only governments had the resources to conduct spaceflight operations successfully. Having said that, the main factor that caused me to be so spectacularly wrong in my assessment of commercial spaceflight possibilities was the rise of the Internet billionaire.

Since I had not really followed the growth of private spaceflight companies such as Orbital Sciences Corporation, Kistler Aerospace and Space Exploration Technologies ("SpaceX") over the last 10 years or so, I didn't know very much about them. Every once in a while a local news item would appear about the construction of Spaceport America, just up the road from me north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, where Virgin Galactic's air-launched SpaceshipTwo will soon start lobbing well-heeled tourists on short up-and-down suborbital hops. That piqued my interest in commercial spaceflight a little, so I picked up a copy of Eric Seedhouse's "SpaceX: Making Commercial Spaceflight a Reality" as soon as it became available.

And now I know a lot more about the subject. "SpaceX" is a typical Springer/Praxis book, and that's high praise indeed. Its detailed, comprehensive, technically accurate (as far as I can tell) and quite readable, considering the esoteric subject matter. At just over 200 pages, "SpaceX" is a lot thinner than a normal Springer/Praxis tome, but packed into those 200 pages is the whole, if brief, history of the company. The story begins in 2002 with SpaceX's founding by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk (of PayPal and Tesla Motors fame), continues through its in-house development of rocket engines, launch vehicles and spacecraft, and concludes with its successful March 2013 Dragon cargo module flight to the International Space Station. While there is enough detail about the engines, boosters, spacecraft, testing and mission operations to satisfy techno-geeks, much of the text describes the financial arrangements with NASA that were key to SpaceX's success. I found those parts less interesting, but they are important if one wants to understand the funding and politics of privately conducted spaceflights. Black-and-white and color photos abound throughout "SpaceX." Some of them are not as clear as they could be, and a few have mildly weird color casts, but they are very useful in supplementing the text.

Unlike the normal Springer/Praxis book, it only took me a few days to read "SpaceX." When I finished it, I felt I had gained an excellent understanding of the future of spaceflight in the 21st century. It certainly is different than what I grew up with! If you're at all interested in learning how private companies will soon dominate U.S. spaceflight operations with hardware they've developed for far less money than it would cost the government, read "SpaceX: Making Commercial Spaceflight a Reality."
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Great content but for a brand new book, the illustrations look like they are printed with an old ink jet printer! 10 July 2013
By JayEm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I greatly like the text content in this book, been looking forward to it. But Springer has lost me a customer, it's too disappointing to get a book printed this way for the money I spent. I expected a new book to be offset printed with ink on semi-gloss paper, I've seen that in past Springer books. Instead, it's digitally printed. The color pictures are strangely color toned, with weird purple blues and fuzziness in the images. The picture of Elon Musk on page 2 looks like it came out of a home ink jet printer. Figure 5.10 looks like that as well. The Dragon crew in Figure 6.5 are dressed in purple with faint blue white halos around them, and flaming orange sun-like balls float above the heads of two crew members in the top of the picture. Think those are supposed to be lights. NASA astronaut Rex Walheim's face and uniform are purple, and so is everything else inside the Dragon Crew Engineering Model, as seen through a window in the capsule, in Figure 6.17. The Dream Chaser sits on a trailer beneath a purple sky in Figure 7.6. With purple mountains in the distance. Purple. The black and white images are a bit better, but still look xeroxed. Page 178 in Appendix III is barely readable, there's so little contrast in the black and white printing that I can't read some of the text. Figure 9.5 is a black and white image of the Delta Clipper taking off, and my copy has a Moire pattern all through it.

So it's readable, but it's a shame that the color photos, and some of the black and white photos, are out of whack in the copy I got.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Five Stars 30 Sep 2014
By Franklin H. Neal III - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
An in depth history of Space X. Packed with lots of details, pictures and illustrations.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great shipper 21 Oct 2014
By JMAC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great shipper...Delivered as anticipated.
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