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FOIA: Space Handbook: Astronautics and its Applications

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posted on Jan, 8 2008 @ 01:29 AM
Space Handbook: Astronautics and its Applications
An excellent overview of basic Astronautics as prepared in a special staff report for the Congressional Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration.

Document date: 1960-01-26
Department: Rand Corporation
Author: George H Clement
Document type: Staff Report
pages: 250


Archivist's Notes: A must read for those interested in the moon landings, secret space stations, or secret space programs. The main topics covered include: Space environment, Trajectories and orbits, Rocket vehicles, Propulsion systems, Propellants, Internal power sources, Structures and materials, Flight path and orientation control, Guidance, Communication, Observation and tracking, Atmospheric flight, Landing and recovery, Environment of manned systems, Space stations and extraterrestrial bases, Nuclear weapon effects in space, Cost factors and ground facilities, and Current programs. The document itself is in excellent condition with the exception of a few poor quality photographs. Many figures, charts, and schematics serve to further clarify the topics.

posted on Jan, 8 2008 @ 03:09 AM
WOW - what a great read... here some highlights:

This booklet has been printed in 1959

The following has been taken from PDF page 3:

December 29, 1958
Hon.. John W. McCormack,
Majority Leader, Chairman, Select Committee on Astronautics
and Space Exploration.
There is forwarded herewith for your consideration
and submittal to the Congress a special staff report, Astronautics and Its Applications, prepared in accordance with the policy guidance of the committee, under our direction and with the editorial assistance of the committee staff.
A real need has been felt for an authoritative study in lay terms which would set forth clearly the present and definitely foreseeable state of the art of space flight. The committee, after careful consideration of alternatives, requested The RAND Corporation of Santa Monica, Calif., to undertake such a study. Under contract with the United States Air Force, RAND scientists and engineers have been in the forefront of objective investigation of such problems since World War II. RAND's reputation for integrity and independence particularly commended this nonprofit organization to our attention. The report which follows, tailored to the needs of the Congress and the public, represents the most comprehensive unclassified study on the subject now available.
The report is confined to technical and scientific analysis, avoiding expressions of opinion on policy and administrative matters. It studiously avoids borderline speculative judgments on the pace of future development. Such a forward look,
tentative though it may be, is provided by a separate staff study on the next 10 years in space.
The two studies therefore complemnent each other.
Our particular thanks are due to Dr. Robert W. Buchheim and his associates at RAND for the combined speed and care with which they produced this report. George II. Clement of RAND did a commendable liaison job in translating our wishes and in smoothing the way at every stage. The work of preparing this report was undertaken by The RAND Corporation as a part of its own research program in the public interest. This is based on their Report No. RM-2289-RC, copyright 1958 and reproduced here by permission.
Any views expressed do not necessarily conform to those of the
United States Air Force, this committee or any member of the
Director and Chief Counsel.
Assistant Director.

The early history of space flight is really the history of an idea
deeply imbedded in the general stream of development of human
thought about the nature of the universe. The notion of flight to
the Moon followed almost instantaneously upon the arrival of the idea
that the Moon might be another solid sphere akin to the earth. The
evolution of these speculations from ancient times is treated in a
fascinating manner by Willy Ley, an acknowledged historian of
The first glimmer of a chance to convert fanciful notions of extraterrestrial flight into an idea with engineering significance came with the invention of the rocket.
The first applications of rocket propulsion were, with little doubt,
military, and rockets have had a long and varied career in military
service, mostly as on-and-off rivals of artillery.
The current feasibility of space activities is clearly the product of
modern weapons developments, the first substantial step having been taken in the German V-2 program.' This beginning has been greatly extended in the IRBM and ICBM programs in the United States and the Soviet Union.

For most of their long' history, military rockets were viewed as
"gunless artillery" and estimates of their merits were based on comparisons of the performance with that of competing artillery pieces.
Only rather recently have rockets been looked upon as devices applicable to a class of activity far removed from anything achievable by artillery projectors; they are now more nearly rivals or companions of long-range bomber aircraft.
It is interesting to note that Maj. J. R. Randolph, an officer of the
United States Army Reserve, deduced 20 years ago that the rocket has 2 likely applications: as gunless artillery, and for bombardment over intercontinental ranges.
His assessment, with respect to the application now labeled "ICBM," was based on data developed by investigators interested in interplanetary flight.
Major Randolph also suggested the possibility of using large liquid propellant rockets of ICBM class as boosters for manned intercontinental bombing vehicles-a notion now being implemented in the Dyna-Soar program. These ideas about rockets are a strikingly good broad outline of the more detailed program developed at Penemuende for extension of German rocket development to intercontinental scope.4 5 There have been suggestions that this general theme has also been operative in U. S. S. R. development planning.'
Military and peaceful application of rockets was pioneered in the
United States by Dr. Robert Goddard, who was in charge of War
Department rocket work during World War I. Dr. Goddard advanced
the state of the rocket art in many ways in the twenties and
thirties, and saw the great potential for scientific experimentation
inherent in rocket propulsion as a means of reaching altitudes otherwise unattainable.'
The principal early work in the technological field of space flight
was done in Russia, Germany, and the United States. The chief
United States effort was that of Goddard. The early German work
was done by H. Oberth, beginning in the 1920's. Russian efforts commenced at a substantially earlier date, giving them a clear and valid claim to a "first." Russian activity began with the work of Mescherskii and Tsiolkovskii near the end of the 19th century.
Tsiolkovskii is generally recognized as the father of astronautics.
Considerable work, both theoretical and experimental, was accomplished
in the U. S. S. R. in the 1920's and 1930's.
Serious and substantial Government-sponsored rocket-research programs were established in Germany in about 1930 in the Soviet Union sometime in or before 1934, and in the United States in 1942. The astronautical activities of the United States and the U. S. S. R. will be discussed in greater detail below.

posted on Jan, 8 2008 @ 03:20 AM
Even in its present early and uncertain state, astronautics can be
seen to have important implications for a very wide variety of human
In tile most immediate and practical sense, astronautics is a very large engineering job. Equipments and facilities, often requiring substantial advances over current practice, must be designed and built. Severe environmental conditions and demands for high reliability over very long periods of essentially unattended operation will require uncompromising thoroughness and extensive testing.
Bold imagination and painstaking attention to detail must be the twin hallmarks of engineering for space flight.
Engineering action can be founded only on scientific knowledge. The scientist must support the engineer with adequate data on the many aspects of space environments, and with a growing body of fundamental knowledge. As a primary end product, astronautics can furnish unparalleled new opportunities to the scientist to explore and understand man and his universe. Space vehicles can carry the scientist's instruments and eventually the scientist himself-to regions otherwise not accessible to gather information otherwise unattainable. The life sciences are presented with two particularly challenging facets of astronautics: the problem of maintaining human existence outside the narrow living zone at the earth's surface, and the possibility of encountering living things on other planets. The departure of man and his machines from the very Earth itself is bound to have a profound influence on human thought and the general view of man's place in the scheme of things. His findings on other worlds can be expected to influence the broad development of philosophy to a degree comparable to that resulting from the invention of the telescope, whereby man discovered that he was not actually the center of the universe. Perhaps astronautics will show man that he is also not alone in the universe.
These and other aspects of the revolutionary nature of extraterrestrial exploration have prompted serious theological discussion. Implications of space flight with respect to Christian principles are matters of lively interest.
As early as September 1956, Pope Pius XII formally stated that space activities are in no way contradictory to Church doctrine.
The statesman, endeavoring to promote world peace, can see both a hope and a threat in astronautics. International cooperation in space enterprises could help to promote trust and understanding. Astronautics can provide physical means to aid international inspection and, thereby, can help in the progress toward disarmament and the prevention of surprise attack. Astronautics can also lead to military systems which, once developed and deployed, may make hopes of disarmament, arms control, or inspection immeasurably more difficult of realization.
International cooperation in astronautics is imperative simply as a matter of efficiency. Scientific space exploration cannot reasonably be an international science clearly demonstrates the point. Observation of natural celestial bodies, which (as viewed from the Earth) are permanent and relatively slow moving, has required the closest kind of
nternational collaboration. The observation (not to mention creation and retrieval) of artificial celestial bodies, transient and fast moving will place even heavier, more urgent, demands on international co-operation. There s also obvious need for international cooperation in such matters as agreement on radio frequency allocations for space vehicles; and on rights of access to, and egress from, national territories for recovery of vehicles, particularly in cases of accidentally misplaced landings of manned vehicles.
Astronautics raises substantial questions of law, both international and local. The important issues of international agreement on space access and utilization must be afforded the most thoughtful sort of attention. Legal factors of a more conventional nature are also inherent in astronautics. Large tracts of real estate will be required for operations
and testing, for example. The physical needs of astronautics are,
therefore, a matter of important concern also to the civic planner somewhat in the manner of airports and marine facilities.
Astronautics is inherently a high-cost activity that will clearly have an important impact on Government expenditures, taxes, corporate profits, and personal incomes. It may for the future, hold considerable promise of substantial economic benefits-astronautics is an entire new industry. In astronautics lies the possibility of improved performance in important public and commercial service activities; weather forecasting, aids to navigation and communication, aerial mapping, geological surveys, forest-fire warning, iceberg patrol, and other such functions.
For national security and military operations astronautics holds more than new means for implementing standard operations like reconnaissance and bombing. It suggests novel capabilities of such magnitude that entirely new concepts of military action will have to be developed to exploit them. As an obvious parallel, airplane technology has come a long way since Kitty Hawk; but the military thinking that determines the role of aircraft in national arsenals has also come a very long way indeed. A similar companion development of technology and military concepts can be expected to occur in astronautics also but we can no longer afford the comparatively leisurely pace of adjustment that characterized the thinking about aircraft.
Astronautics has another important military dimension if "military"
s interpreted in the broad sense of an organized, trained, and disciplined activity. It is hard to conceive of space exploration efforts such as manned voyages to Mars, involving many months of hazard and hardship, being undertaken by any but a "military" type of organization.
Astronautics is the sort of activity in which anyone can find means for satisfying personal participation. The work of amateurs in optical and radio observation of satellites has already been of great value, and there is no reason to believe that amateur activities in astronautics will not take up a place alongside and within such vigorous hobbies as amateur radio and amateur astronomy.

posted on Jan, 8 2008 @ 03:20 AM
Highlights from PDF page 10 and 11

Astronautics is bound to have an important impact on education. The broad nature of the problems to be faced will require not only specialists, but minds trained to cut across and exploit various classical disciplines.


The physical assets of the United States and other countries in astronautics now reside in large measure in military activities. More specifically, these current assets lie mainly in ballistic-missile programs.
The space flight capabilities that can be built on ballistic-missile assets are very extensive, indeed. The greatest of these are derivable from ICBM hardware.

All of these and other feats can be accomplished by starting with basic rocket vehicles now in development in this country. None, however, will come from the ballistic-missile programs directly. All require additional work of a very substantial nature. With diligence and reasonable luck, the overall rocket machinery necessary to attempt any of these flights could be available in a few years-probably less than five.

Other fields, in various states of advancement, must also be considered, however, to obtain a full view of our current standing. While knowledge of the space environment is uncertain in many respects, no important barriers stand in the way of unmanned flights.

So far as manned flight is concerned, no such definite statement can be made--partly because the requirements for human survival are much more severe than for instruments, partly because instrument flights can be one way while manned flights must be round trips, and partly because the human risk attached to mistakes is great for manned flight. Accurate guidance of space vehicles over interplanetary ranges may require improvement in current knowledge of basic astronomical constants.

Systems to control the orientation of space vehicles during free flight are (except for spin stabilization) in the untested and uncertain category. Communication between space vehicles and Earth stations is rather easy to maintain in satellite or lunar flights. Communication as far as Mars seems reasonably well in hand, but at much greater distances current possibilities become questionable.

A problem area that cannot be overemphasized is that of reliability. It is utterly meaningless to talk about flights to Mars if the equipment to be sent there has no reasonable probability of continuing to work for the duration of the flight and for a useful period after arrival. Keeping modest amounts of equipment working, unattended, for many months is possible, but it requires good knowledge of the environment, careful design, and extensive testing.

Electrical propulsion systems that can provide continuous thrust in the space environment are being investigated.

[edit on 8-1-2008 by frozen_snowman]

posted on Jan, 9 2008 @ 02:24 AM
Now – I would recommend, for everyone who is interested in this topic, to read the whole PDF. document.

To Highlight everything in this document would take up several pages of this forum and I believe this in not the intent of ATS as we should discuss the topic…

This document is very interesting because it displays the intentions, views and the scientific background from the late 1950’s with the desire for mankind to travel into space.
To keep things short I will add only a few parts of the document that I found very interesting:

PDF page 12: Carry scientific instruments, and eventually people, to the planets and other bodies in the solar system for direct exploration of their physical nature and, perhaps, indigenous life forms. Permit studies of behavior and evolution of terrestrial biological specimens in environments grossly different from that on Earth.

PDF page 17: Bleak and desert like as Mars appears to be, with no free oxygen and little, if any, water, there is rather good evidence that some indigenous life forms may exist.
The seasonal color changes, from green in spring to brown in autumn, suggest vegetation.
Recently Sinton has found spectroscopic evidence that organic molecules may be responsible for the Martian dark areas. The objections raised concerning differences between the color and infrared reflectivity’s of terrestrial organic matter and those of the dark areas on Mars have been successfully met by the excellent work of Prof. G. A. Tikhov and his colleagues of the new Soviet Institute of Astrobiology.' Tikhov has shown that arctic plants differ in infrared reflection from temperate and tropical plants, and an extrapolation to Martian conditions leads to the conclusion that the dark areas are really Martian vegetable life.
Although human life could not survive without extensive local environmental modifications, the possibility of a self-sustaining colony is not ruled out.

PDF page 18: A Soviet astronomer recently reported observation of an erupting volcano on the moon. Whether or not the observations actually support the stated interpretation has been questioned by some authorities.

PDF page 20: The apparent dose rate at altitudes between about 300 and 400 miles lies within the accepted AEC steady-state tolerance level for human beings of 300 milliroentgens per week (1.79 milliroentgens per hour).
Therefore, this radiation belt does not interdict low-altitude manned satellites. It does imply that manned satellites orbiting at altitudes greater than 300 to 400 miles would require some shielding, the weight of shielding increasing up to the greatest altitude for which we have fairly firm information (roughly 1,200 miles). Beyond this altitude, the radiation levels are uncertain, but it is expected that at some altitude a maximum must be reached after which the dosage rates should diminish.
Depending upon the extent of the equatorial radiation belt, manned space flights could use the technique of leaving or returning to the Earth via the polar regions, or could penetrate directly through the radiation belt with adequate shielding to protect human beings during the transit.

PDF page 21: It is not known whether the Alpha Centauri system has any planets, but observations of some other nearby stars, e. g., Cygni, indicate, from wobbles in their motion, the possible presence of orbiting dark bodies with masses comparable to Jupiter's. There is, then, what might be considered indirect evidence for the existence of other planetary systems. Within 20 light-years of the Sun there are known to be about 100 stars with possibly 2 or 3 planetary systems, if the interpretation of the "wobbles" are correct. Kuiper estimates on the basis of the ratio of the masses of components of double stars that not more than 12 percent of all stars may have planetary systems. When we realize that there are some 2 X 10 stars in our galaxy, this would give 1 to 10 billion with planetary systems. It seems reasonable to speculate that out of this vast number there surely must be some systems with earth-like planets, and that on some of these planets life similar to our own may have evolved.

The document is diverse in its topic and has lots of information about the propulsion and photography (+lots more) in the next chapters. Maybe some else would like to touch these subjects…

posted on Jan, 9 2008 @ 07:52 PM
Star and a flag. The stuff about martian vegetation i found very intruiging, After all the forests on mars stuff thats out there on the net.

posted on Jan, 9 2008 @ 09:49 PM
Rockets... Ha.
Anyways, it seems to be an interesting document, but ET stuff seems to be speculative. It was written prior to the first Mars probe after all.

[edit on 9-1-2008 by erkokite]

[edit on 9-1-2008 by erkokite]

posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 05:39 PM
Thanks for sharing that pdf-file with this community. We appreciate the knowledge & wisdom shared on this website & everywhere else.

posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 10:54 PM

Anyone want a better copy?

I thought FOIA documents required getting them by request... this as many I have looked at are all in public archives like this one...

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