Books: “How to Make a Spaceship” + “Martians Abroad” + “Opening the High Frontier”

Some books to interest:

** How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight by Julian Gutherie

I quite enjoyed this history of the Ansari XPRIZE, which was won by Burt Rutan‘s team in October of 2004 after completing two flights to suborbital space by the SpaceShipOne (SS1) rocket plane within two weeks.  The culmination of the $10M competition came about after many years of struggles by Peter Diamandis and his team to find sponsors, entrants, and prize money.

Diamandis, a Harvard trained medical doctor who also co-founded the International Space University, the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), and several companies, is the focus of the book but there are extended profiles of many interesting characters who were involved in the competition such as Rutan, the SS1 pilots Mike Melvill and Brian Binnie, and Paul Allen, who backed the SS1 project. Diamandis was inspired by the $25,000 Orteig Prize, which Charles Lindbergh won in 1927 by flying the Spirit of St. Louis solo from New Jersey to Paris. How Charles Lindbergh’s grandson Erik Lindbergh comes to play a major role in the XPRIZE is one of the more intriguing stories in the book.


These two books were pointed to me by HS readers:

** Martians Abroad: A novel by Carrie Vaughn 

Here is a positive review: ‘Martians Abroad’ Is An Optimistic Glance Into Humanity’s Future | WCAI

Martians Abroad is a refreshingly optimistic change of pace, but it makes no secret about its precedents. It’s an open homage to Robert Heinlein’s juveniles, as his novels with adolescent protagonists were called — and one of those juveniles in particular, 1963’s Podkayne of Mars. The parallels are numerous. Heinlein’s heroine goes by the nickname Poddy. Her brother’s name is Clark. And they’re both sent abroad from their Martian home.

It’s this loving, retro-futuristic vibe that helps make Martians Abroad so endearing. Harking back to a more innocent time — but without downplaying the tribulations of contemporary adolescence — Vaughn has crafted a tribute to the power of science fiction, evoking a giddy sense of wonder and adventure about space exploration, technology, and human ingenuity. And, yes, even about being young.

** Opening the High Frontier: Our Future in Space by Eagle Sarmont 

A summary of the book:

A “Opening the High Frontier” is about how to make spaceflight affordable to everyone. It is about the ideas and technologies that will allow us to affordably build a spacefaring civilization, to build cities on the Moon and Mars, to build Space Colonies and Satellite Solar Power Stations, and to mine the asteroids. It is about a combination of concepts, some known and some not so well known, that can be affordably built right now with existing technology, that can make this happen. It is about our path to an unlimited future, our path to Mars and the rest of the solar system, and someday, the first step on our journey to the stars. It is about Opening the High Frontier for everyone.