Thursday, May 21, 2020

Review of "Space Flight: The Coming Exploration of the Universe," by Lester Del Rey

Review of

Space Flight: The Coming Exploration of the Universe, by Lester Del Rey

Four out of five stars

 It is always interesting to go back and read scientific books published when there was much less information concerning the subject. This book was written in 1959, so while it was after Sputnik and the first American satellite launches, it was two years before the incredible flight of Yuri Gagarin. Therefore, while this book contains intellectual speculation, it was still speculation.

 At the time of publication, there was no information regarding the effects of space on the human body. Space suits were not invented or used and even the rockets to push humans into space were still not developed. Lester del Rey is a legend in the science fiction community, so he had the credentials to engage in the speculation.

 Overall, del Rey did a commendable job in predicting how humans would launch themselves into space and what the technology would look like. He predicted global communication via satellites and the enormous advantage that satellites would give to weather forecasting. Most of the areas where he turned out to be wrong were in the shape and structure of the spacecraft.

 While del Rey quite naturally made some errors, he was often right, and it is enjoyable to look back to a time when space and how to get there was all unexplored territory.

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