While not as old as the dream of spaceflight itself, the desire to build a reusable, efficient workhorse vehicle that could ferry crews and cargo into orbit (and back) reaches more than halfway back into the last century.
Dave Ketchledge has done an impressive job of compiling the past, present and future of the reusable spaceship. More than just a history book, this CD delves into many of the engineering issues confronting the designers. This book also provides the scale model rocket enthusiast with dozens of prototypes that are suitable for the NAR's "Future/Fiction Scale" competition.
The first two chapters cover the history of manned rocket plane flight and the early proposed reusable crew and cargo vehicles. Chapter 3 is a history of lifting body research from the very beginning to the Lockheed X33/VentureStar. For those with some technical background, Chapter 4 delves into the engineering issues, in a fairly detailed manner, that spacecraft designers have to overcome. Chapter 5 covers the research and technology projects that led to the current STS shuttle system while Chapter 6 covers the STS itself from the original design specification up to the investigation of the Columbia tragedy.
Chapter 7 shows us the crucial role of model makers in advanced research, since all of these advanced concepts were flown in miniature before ever risking a pilot's life. Chapter 8 contains a dozen detailed scale envelope drawings of the more prominent research vehicles and proposals. Chapter 9 gets to the title subject by reviewing possible replacements for the current STS, and Chapter 10 covers advanced technologies for systems further down the road. Chapter 11 shows us why we should build these vehicles by examining many of the exciting missions available to us in the solar system. Chapters 12 and 13 list the source materials used in compiling the book.
Finally, the CD includes "bonus features" containing all of the images used in the book in their native file formats, a selection of Computational Flow Dynamics (CFD) diagrams for 30 of the subjects, and several of the original source documents, including the complete report on the Columbia investigation.
Chapter 1 - First Steps
Chapter 2 - Research Programs and Projects
Chapter 3 - Lifting Bodies
Chapter 4 - Engineering Issues
Chapter 5 - Space Shuttle Concepts
Chapter 6 - Era of the Rockwell Shuttle
Chapter 7 - Role of the Model Makers
Chapter 8 - Scale Drawings
Chapter 9 - Replacing the Shuttle
Chapter 10 - Fringe Benefits and New Spacecraft Concepts
Chapter 11 - New Frontiers Call
Chapter 12 - Sources and Texts
Chapter 13 - Computational Tools