Required Reading Material?

Contributed by Richard Vireday

One thing I think we might be missing from these discussions is a common vocabulary and understanding. This is usually addressed in a real course by a list of required reading materials. And the stuff in the LIT reference area is more than a little bit chewy to digest right away.

Given everyones jobs and normal life, reading all this might be a little daunting. Also, is this first project a 1, 2 or 5 year effort? I think we should target a 2 year effort for this first design project.

What got me interested in space and science (besides Apollo) was the Fiction of space and science. Some of these works have even been cited by Astronauts and others as inspirations for their careers.

I therefore suggest a supplemental list of reading that can prove informative and very inspirational. These are included below, although not with complete scholarly bibliographies at present.

As soon as I can dig up some others, there were some interesting articles recently in one of the Sci-Fi periodicals on the Delta Clipper. I have noticed a relative lack of information on this topic so far in the LIT archives, which hopefully can be remedied in fairly short order. Given the success of the Clipper, the lessons learned there should be more widely disseminated.

The other materials listed in the LIT library on topics such as E-beam propulsion systems should also be engaged. Hopefully, many of the articles can be put on-line for everyone's access and not just referenced. But, no violations of copyright! I myself am trying to get up to motivation to tackle some of the tougher ones. That is one reason I feel the supplemental fiction lists are essential as well, for a good non-technical understanding and audiences.


Forward, Robert. "The Flight of the Dragonfly"
Investigate Dr. Forward's several books about a flight to Barnard's Star for a look at using a Bussard Ramjet as a propulsion system. Some very detailed designs and notes on the entire problem. The author avoids some of the problem of time span and radiation by the novel use of drugs instead of the usual deep freeze. Excellent details and analysis of the shielding needed from the Ramjet radiation and other technical problems which need to be solved.
Niven, Larry. "Legacy of Herot"
Colony established around another star, and some of the problems therein. Notable to the Propulsion group for the use and descriptions of the planetary shuttlecraft, which are basically variations of the NASA shuttles. They land on water, and use water to create the hydrogen for fuel. Some straightforward assumptions used on advances needed to create the shuttles.
Anderson, Poul "Tau Zero"
Use of Bussard Ramjets as probes to seed other systems with algae and other Terran life forms in an attempt to spread human life. Single person ship, with Cryogenics (the Deep Freeze) used to solve the timespan problem. Not as good on the technical end, more focused on some interesting personal problems the technology and culture of the future presents to the hero.


Heinlein, Robert. "Universe". Available in Sci-Fi Hall of Fame, Vol I.
Short story, which is one of the classics in defining the idea of a multi-generational ship. Propulsion method is left undefined, but some intriguing notions of the quality of the systems that would be required for such a long journey.

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