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The Complete Book of Spaceflight


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About the Author

DAVID DARLING, Ph.D., is the author of Life Everywhere; The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia; Deep Time; Equations of Eternity (a New York Times Notable Book); Soul Search; and Zen Physics. He received his doctorate in astronomy from the University of Manchester, England, and now lives with his family in rural Minnesota. More information on spaceflight may be found at www. daviddarling.info.


This one-volume encyclopedia divides its coverage of space flight into three areas: biographies of astronauts, rocket scientists, etc.; histories of manned and unmanned space missions; and the science and technology related to space flight. Darling, who has a Ph.D. in astronomy, has written several books on extraterrestrial life and cosmology. Although this volume offers a single source for comprehensive space flight information, its added value may be limited, as many libraries likely already own biographical resources (such as Michael Cassutt's Who's Who in Space), space-mission histories (such as Tim Furniss's The History of Space Vehicles), and science and technology references (such as the McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology). In addition, readers will find the cross references lacking. Many entries, such as MECO, are entered under their acronym or initials, but there is no cross reference from the fun form, in this case Main Engine Cut Off. In addition, entries for scientific terms are often inadequate. For example, weightlessness is a mere one paragraph, though one would expect much fuller treatment of such a major aspect of space flight. Despite these flaws, Darling's is the most current work available on this subject, and the detail it provides on satellite missions is notable. Wherever it doesn't duplicate existing references, this book is recommended for large academic and public libraries. ?Jeffrey Beall, Univ. of Colorado Lib., Denver (Library Journal, January 15, 2003)

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