Category Archives: History

Space in Miniature releases new “U.S. Space Missiles” ref book for modelers

Space in Miniature, led by Michael Mackowski, has released a new digital reference book for space model builders. Mike Mackowski describes the US Space Missiles SIM report:

The sixth installment in the Space In Miniature (SIM) digital-only “Tech Reports” series of reference booklets for spacecraft modelers is now available. This publication is a detailed review of the Atlantis re-issue of the old Monogram “U.S. Space Missiles” kit.

The initial version of this 1/128th scale kit came out in 1958 as the “United States Missile Arsenal” and Monogram updated it with a different mix of 36 missile subjects in 1969. The 1969 release, the 1983 version, and the recent Atlantis edition all use the same molds, with slightly different instructions. With the Atlantis Models release in 2022 making it readily available again, it seemed like a SIM Tech Report treatment would be popular.

The SIM Tech Report is based on a two-part kit review originally published in 1984 in Plastic Novelty Items, a publication of the Chicago Sprue Stretchers IPMS chapter. They included descriptions of most of the 36 missiles and was heavily illustrated with detailed drawings. The review covered the 1983 “Heritage Edition,” with text by Joe Suszynski and drawings by Jim Griffiths. After Joe passed away some years ago, I contacted Jim and made arrangements to use their work at some future time. That time has come. The SIM version adds photos of all the missiles and up-to-date drawings by model rocketry guru Peter Alway. Brian Nicklas, of the National Air and Space Museum and author of his own book on US missiles, also made contributions to this book.

SIM TR-6 US Space Missiles is available in digital (pdf) format only for $10 at There are 57 pages and 122 illustrations, many in color, resulting in a 178MB file.

This is the sixth in a series of special volumes in the Space In Miniature series called “Tech Reports”.

Some previous posts about SIM booklets:

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“Space In Miniature” offers modelers a new reference booklet on Shuttle payloads

Space in Miniature, led by Michael Mackowski, releases a new digital reference book for space model builders that focuses on payloads flown on the Space Shuttle missions:

Space In Miniature Tech Report 5 – Shuttle Payloads
Reference Book for Model Builders

The fifth installment in the Space In Miniature (SIM) digital-only “Tech Reports” series of reference booklets for spacecraft modelers is now available. This 48-page publication is a combination of material left over after updating the SIM 1.1 Primer and the SIM 3.1 Space Shuttle books, articles recycled from my IPMS Journal columns from the 1980s and early 1990s, and some new material from me and a few of my space modeling associates.

The result is a mix of detailed build articles (e.g., the STS-41C Solar Max repair mission), background material on what potentially could be an interesting build (e.g., the STS-41D Solar Array Flight Experiment), and a few concepts that were made into kits but never actually flew (e.g., Biomedical Experiments Scientific Satellite, aka BESS). This book has 48 pages including the cover and table of contents, with 130 color photos and detailed illustrations.

Here is the table of contents from the book:

  • Table of Space Shuttle Missions
  • Tracking and Data Relay Satellite – TDRS
  • Better Shuttle Astronauts
  • Spacelab
  • Buck Rogers of the 20th Century
  • Shuttle EVA Tools
  • Building the Solar Max Repair Mission
  • Long Duration Exposure Facility – LDEF
  • OAST-1 Solar Array Flight Experiment
  • Magellan Venus Orbiter
  • Hubble Space Telescope
  • HST Servicing Missions
  • Power Satellites
  • Biomedical Experiments Scientific Satellite: BESS

The SIM Tech Reports cover topics that are too short or too narrow in subject matter for full length printed books. These are also distributed only as electronic (pdf) copies, which can be printed by the customer. It allows the use of color illustrations, and customers get their books via a simple download. The pdf download of SIM TR-5 Shuttle Payloads sells for $10.00 and is available at

Cover for Space In Miniature Tech Report 5 – Shuttle Payloads.

New podcast series explores the “Age of Discovery 2.0”

History on the Net debuts today a 6-episode podcast series titled Age of Discovery 2.0. It compares the transformative effects that the opening of the New World had on Western Civilization to the possible effects that opening space will have on Earth’s civilization.

How will the Age of Discovery 2.0 change our civilization the way the first one did five centuries ago?

To find the answer, History Unplugged is interviewing historians, scientists, and futurists who have spent decades researching this question by looking at the past to understand the future.

Here is the debut episode: Episode 1: Welcome to the Age of Discovery 2.0:

In this first episode of the series, historian and space enthusiast Scott Rank explains how the first Age of Discovery completely altered the global balance of power, elevating Europe from a poor backwater into the globe’s dominant military intellectual, and economic region. Today, with rocket launch costs dropping by orders of magnitude, we are on the verge of a second Age of Exploration equally — if not more — consequential than the one that the first. 

The Age of Discovery changed Western culture in numerous ways. It increased human freedom because it allowed Europeans to escape the Old World’s rigid social hierarchy, increased wealth by increasing trade and utilizing new resources, and increased human ingenuity by forcing it to innovate and create new technologies in a challenging frontier environment. In upcoming episodes, he will interview historians and science writers (including yours truly) who will explain how we can expect more of this in the Second Age of Discovery.

The guests in episodes 2-4 include:

Robert Zubrin: Robert Zubrin is an American aerospace engineer, author, and advocate for the human exploration of Mars. Disappointed with the lack of interest from government in Mars exploration and after the success of his book The Case for Mars (1996), as well as leadership experience at the National Space Society, Zubrin established the Mars Society in 1998, an international organization advocating a human mission to Mars as a goal, by private funding if possible.

Glenn Reynolds: Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law, and is known for his American politics blog, Instapundit. He has written numerous books and articles on space law and policy and has served as Executive Vice President of the National Space Society, and on a White House advisory committee on space policy.

Robert Zimmerman: Robert has written multiple histories about the first forty years of space exploration as well as more than a hundred magazine and newspaper articles about the adventure of science and astronomy. He says that future generations will look back at Earth and see it only as the Old World.

The fifth episode will feature Rand Simberg, aerospace engineer and author of Safe Is Not An Option: Overcoming The Futile Obsession With Getting Everyone Back Alive That Is Killing Our Expansion Into Space [Amazon commission link].

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“Space in Miniature 3.1 – Space Shuttle” : Updated reference book for modelers now available

Mike Mackowski of Space In Miniature sent me the following announcement:

Space In Miniature 3.1 – Space Shuttle is Released

Challenger model. Credits: Space in Miniature

A complete revision of the third installment of the Space In Miniature (SIM) series of reference books for spacecraft modelers is now available. This book has all the information a modeler will need to build an accurate, detailed model of the Space Shuttle. Originally published in 1990, 24 pages have been added to this soft-cover book that now features color covers. Nearly all of the original material has been updated or replaced with new drawings and articles. Due to the increased page count, a few articles have been moved to an upcoming new SIM book on Shuttle payloads.

SIM #3.1 – Space Shuttle focuses on NASA’s reusable spaceplane, featuring scale drawings showing the various thermal protection patterns used on all six Orbiters and how they evolved over the entire 30+ years of Shuttle operations. The 61-page book also includes four detailed articles on building Space Shuttle models, and seven pages of kit reviews and a list of after market parts. There are a total of 78 drawings and photographs, plus several tables and the cover photos.

This book is printed in black and white on coated paper, and is available both as a hard copy as well as a full-color pdf file. This guidebook will be a unique resource for the serious space modeler. A hard copy of SIM #3.1 – Space Shuttle sells for $12 plus shipping, while a pdf download costs $10. A combination package of both the hard copy and digital version is available for only $15 plus shipping. To order, see www.spaceinminiature. com or send an email to The other titles in the SIM series are still available.

SIM 3.1 – Space Shuttle

Folio edition of “A Man on the Moon” by Andrew Chaikin

Andrew Chaikin sent me this announcement of a new fully-illustrated Folio edition of his classic A Man on the Moon, a vivd history of the Apollo missions. Andrew says he “did all the photo selection and image prep work for the edition, which I think has turned out beautifully“.

A Man on the Moon
The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts
Andrew Chaikin

With a new preface by the author
Foreword by Tom Hanks
‘I’ve been there. Chaikin took me back.’  Gene Cernan, Apollo 17 Commander

Almost a decade in the writing, A Man on the Moon is the definitive story of the Apollo programme. Andrew Chaikin’s authoritative account is based on hundreds of hours of interviews with the astronauts, as well as the scientists, engineers and flight controllers who shared every heartbeat of their voyages. This spectacular two-volume Folio edition features an exclusive selection of photography, along with a new preface by the author and a foreword by Tom Hanks.

Packed with a photography selection curated by the author from his personal archive that features previously unpublished images and sharp new scans of frames from NASA films, this is the ultimate edition of Chaikin’s awe-inspiring history. As well as nearly 200 colour and black-and-white photographs integrated within the text, it has additional full-colour sections – including an eight-page fold-out in each volume – that show off the superb images to their best advantage. The author has expertly matched each image to the text, giving us a complete and unrivalled visual and oral history of the Apollo missions.

A Man on the Moon spans the whole of the Apollo programme. With its exhilarating minute-by-minute accounts of the missions, Chaikin vividly captures what Tom Hanks calls in his 1998 preface the ‘romantic, epic, historic adventure of it all’. It is the complete story of humankind’s greatest feat of exploration, from the deadly Apollo 1 capsule fire, the pioneering flight of Apollo 8 and Neil Armstrong’s ‘giant leap for mankind’ to near-catastrophe aboard Apollo 13. It is also includes the often-overlooked later missions, which saw scientists and astronauts test the limits of lunar exploration and deliver geological insights that revolutionised our understanding of both the moon and our own planet.

Product information

  • Three-quarter bound in blocked cloth with printed paper front boards.
  • Set in Apollo with Futura as display.
  • 800 pages across 2 volumes.
  • 56 pages of plates plus an 8-page fold-out per volume.
  • 9¼˝ x 8¼˝.
  • Pictorial slipcase.
  • UK £150.00 US $225.00 Can $285.00 Aus $350.00

For over 70 years, The Folio Society has been publishing beautiful illustrated editions of the world’s greatest books. It believes that the literary content of a book should be matched by its physical form. With specially researched images or newly commissioned illustrations, many of its editions are further enhanced with introductions written by leading figures in their fields: novelists, journalists, academics, scientists and artists. Exceptional in content and craftsmanship, and maintaining the very highest standards of fine book production, Folio Society editions last for generations.

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