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Spaceplanes pp 69-81 | Cite as

Crawling into Suborbit: The Baby Spaceplane

  • Matthew A. Bentley

For those who would defame the development of spaceplanes, especially suborbital ones, it behooves me to insert a few words here in their defense. It may seem that such vehicles are nothing more than the space toys of rich entrepreneurs, a contrivance of those with too much time and too much money on their hands. In truth, suborbital spaceplanes represent the first toddling steps in the development of real spaceships. We are talking about vessels that, marshalling immense energies, will one day ply the interplanetary spaceways and sail the cosmic sea. We are not talking about modified ballistic missiles used to start spacecraft coasting toward their eventual targets. Suborbital spaceplanes really are baby spaceships, and as babies their abilities are understandably limited. It is entirely fitting that they would be helped into flight by the strong wing of a mothership.

And yet, the potential of the infant spaceplane is far greater than even the most powerful aircraft ever conceived....

Keywords

Space Shuttle Rocket Engine Launch Vehicle Ballistic Missile Microgravity Experiment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. 1.
    Reginald Turnill, The Observer′s Spaceflight Directory. Frederick Warne, London, 1978.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dennis R. Jenkins and T.R. Landis, Hypersonic: The Story of the North American X-15. Specialty Press, 2003.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    David J. Shayler. Disasters and Accidents in Manned Spaceflight. Springer-Praxis, 2000Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    David M. Harland and R.D. Lorenz. Space Systems Failures. Springer-Praxis, 2005Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    David Ashford, Spaceflight Revolution. Imperial College Press, 2002, Chap.  13.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew A. Bentley
    • 1
  1. 1.Rock RiverUSA

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