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Centennial of Flight Series

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Centennial of Flight Series

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Development of Propulsion Technology for U.S. Space-Launch Vehicles, 1926-1991

By J. D. Hunley

In this definitive study, J. D. Hunley traces the program’s development from Goddard’s early rockets (and the German V-2 missile) through the Titan IVA and the Space Shuttle, with a focus on space-launch vehicles. Since these rockets often evolved from early missiles, he pays considerable attention to missile technology, not as an end in itself, but as a contributor to launch-vehicle technology. Focusing especially on the engineering culture of the program, Hunley communicates this very human side of technological development by means of anecdotes, character sketches, and case studies of problems faced by rocket engineers. He shows how such a highly adaptive approach enabled the evolution of a hugely complicated technology that was impressive—but decidedly not rocket science. Unique in its single-volume coverage of the evolution of launch-vehicle technology from 1926 to 1991, this meticulously researched work will inform scholars and engineers interested in the history of technology and innovation, as well as those specializing in the history of space flight.

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Dreams of Flight

General Aviation in the United States

By Janet R. Daly Bednarek and Michael H. Bednarek

General aviation encompasses all the ways aircraft are used beyond commercial and military flying: private flights, barnstormers, cropdusters, and so on. Authors Janet and Michael Bednarek have taken on the formidable task of discussing the hundred-year history of this broad and diverse field by focusing on the most important figures and organizations in general aviation and the major producers of general aviation aircraft and engines. This history examines the many airplanes used in general aviation, from early Wright and Curtiss aircraft to the Piper Cub and the Lear Jet. The authors trace the careers of birdmen, birdwomen, barnstormers, and others who shaped general aviation—from Clyde Cessna and the Stinson family of San Antonio to Olive Ann Beech and Paul Poberezny of Milwaukee. They explain how the development of engines influenced the development of aircraft, from the E-107 that powered the 1929 Aeronca C-2, the first affordable personal aircraft, to the Continental A-40 that powered the Piper Cub, and the Pratt and Whitney PT-6 turboprop used on many aircraft after World War II. In addition, the authors chart the boom and bust cycle of general aviation manufacturers, the rising costs and increased regulations that have accompanied a decline in pilots, the creation of an influential general aviation lobby in Washington, and the growing popularity of “type” clubs, created to maintain aircraft whose average age is twenty-eight years. This book provides readers with a sense of the scope and richness of the history of general aviation in the United States. An epilogue examining the consequences of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, provides a cautionary note.

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Flying Down to Rio

Hollywood, Tourists, and Yankee Clippers

By Rosalie Schwartz

In this book, author Rosalie Schwartz uses the 1933 RKORadio Pictures production Flying Down to Rio to examine the interplay of technology and popular culture that shaped a distinctive twentiethcentury sensibility. The musical comedy connected airplanes, movies, and tourism, ending spectacularly with chorus girls dancing on the wings of airplanes high above Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Hollywood fantasy capped three decades during which airplanes and movies engendered new expectations and redefined peoples sense of wellbeing, their personal satisfactions, and their interpersonal relations. Wilbur and Orville Wright flew their airplane in 1903, at the same time that filmmakers began to project edited, filmed stories onto large screens. Spectators found entertainment value in both airplane competitions and motion pictures, and movie producers brought the thrill of aviators antics to a rapidly expanding audience. Meanwhile, air shows and competitions attracted large crowds of tourists. Mass tourism grew as a leisuretime activity, stimulated in part by travelogues and feature films. By 1930, the businessmen who envisioned transporting tourists to their destinations by airplane struggled to overcome the movieexaggerated association of flight with danger. Schwartz weaves these threads into a story of human daring and persistence, political intrigue, and international competition. From Wilbur and Orville to Fred and Ginger, Schwartzs narrative follows the fortunes of aviation and movie pioneers and the foundations and growth of Pan American Airways and RKORadio Pictures, the two companies that came together in Flying Down to Rio. By the end of the twentieth century, aviation, movies, and mass tourism had become powerful global industries, contributing to an internationally connected, entertainmentoriented culture. What was once unthinkable had now become expected.

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The Flying Man

Hugo Junkers and the Dream of Aviation

Richard Byers

Hugo Junkers (1859–1935) was a German engineer and aircraft designer generally credited as the pioneer of all-metal airplanes. His company, Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke AG, more commonly referred to simply as “Junkers,” became a major German aircraft manufacturer based in Dessau. From humble beginnings producing boilers and radiators, by World War II the company was producing some of the most successful Luftwaffe planes, including the Ju 88, the primary bomber of the German air force.

Hugo Junkers himself, however, was a socialist pacifist who saw aviation as a way to unify the world. Soon after the Nazi party came to power in 1933, Junkers was forced to surrender his patents, found his holdings seized by the state, and was placed under house arrest. He died in 1935, a “tortured genius” exiled from his life’s work but, perhaps fortunately, spared from seeing his inventions destructively unleashed across Europe.

No biography of Junkers has been published to date. Author Richard Byers now fills that void with this compelling narrative of a man and his machines. Flying Man is a contribution not only to the history of aviation but also adds to our understanding of the consolidation of power in Germany’s march toward World War II.

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Into the Wild Blue Yonder

My Life in the Air Force

By Allan T. Stein

Allan T. Stein idolized his uncle, a pilot in the Great War. So in 1943, in the midst of the Second World War, he left Texas A&M University for Lackland Air Field to learn to fly. By the time he retired in 1969, Stein had flown everything from BT-13s and B-24s to B-52s and C-47s. During World War II, he flew missions over China and the Sea of Japan, and by V-J Day, he had participated in eight campaigns and logged 347 hours in combat. Stein later spent one year in Vietnam as operations officer for the 360 TEWS (Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron), which used refitted C-47s to monitor and locate Vietcong units. He ended his career as inspector general of the Civil Air Patrol. Stein remembers drinking 10¢ beers in San Antonio and running an AT-17 into a dry lake bed outside Lubbock. He recalls a B-25 crashing into a stockade and a mission over the Atlantic that almost ended tragically due to bad weather and because his flight of B-47s could not refuel properly. During the 1940s, money was always short and the future uncertain, so he and his wife lived cheaply in cramped apartments and converted garages. Yet he recalls that the camaraderie among air force personnel and their families made those the best years of their lives. Stein considers himself to have been an ordinary airman, not a hero. But he was also a seasoned pilot and a conscientious officer with a strong sense of right and wrong. After a pilot he had trained and certified died in an accident, Stein made it a practice to fail all but the best candidates. He was just as disgusted with the corruption he encountered in the Civil Air Patrol as he was with the tendentious reporters he met in Saigon’s Hotel Caravelle. Although he met his share of cowards and scoundrels, Stein loved to fly and he loved the air force. He was the sort of officer his superiors trusted not to make mistakes, but he was not the sort to rise to high rank. What he offers here is an account of a typical career as an air force officer, complete with its frustrations, moral dilemmas, and the occasional harrowing experience.

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Red Cosmos

K. E. Tsiolkovskii, Grandfather of Soviet Rocketry

By James T. Andrews Ph.D

Long before the space race captured the world’s attention, K. E. Tsiolkovskii first conceived of multi-stage rockets that would later be adapted as the basis of both the U.S. and Soviet rocket programs. Often called the grandfather of Russian rocketry, this provincial scientist was even sanctioned by Stalin to give a speech from Red Square on May Day 1935, lauding the Soviet technological future while also dreaming and expounding on his own visions of conquering the cosmos. Later, the Khrushchev regime used him as a "poster boy" for Soviet excellence during its Cold War competition with the United States. Ironically, some revisionists have since pointed to such blatant promotion by the Communist Party in an attempt to downplay Tsiolkovskii’s scientific contributions. James T. Andrews explores the complexities of this man to show that Tsiolkovskii was much more than either a rocket inventor or a propaganda tool. He was a science popularizer, novelist, technical inventor, and visionary, whose science fiction writings included futuristic drawings of space stations long before they appeared on any engineer’s drawing board. Mining a myriad of Russian archives, Andrews produces not only a biographical account but also a study of Soviet technological propaganda, local science education, public culture in the 1920s and 1930s, and the cultural ramifications of space flight.

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Spying from Space

Constructing America's Satellite Command and Control Systems

By David Christopher Arnold; Foreword by Forrest S. McCartney

On August 14, 1960, a revolution quietly occurred in the reconnaissance capabilities of America. When the Air Force C-119 Flying Boxcar Pelican 9 caught a bucket returning from space with film from a satellite, the American intelligence community gained access to previously denied information about the Soviet Union. The Corona reconnaissance satellite missions that followed lifted the veil of secrecy from the communist bloc, revealing, among other things, that no “Missile Gap” existed. This revolution in military intelligence could not have occurred without the development of the command and control systems that made the Space Race possible. In Spying from Space, David Christopher Arnold tells the story of how military officers and civilian contractors built the Air Force Satellite Control Facility (AFSCF) to support the National Reconnaissance Program. The AFSCF also had a unique relationship with the National Reconnaissance Office, a secret organization that the U.S. government officially concealed as late as the 1990s. Like every large technology system, the AFSCF evolved as a result of the interaction of human beings with technology and with each other. Spying from Space fills a gap in space history by telling the story of the command and control systems that made rockets and satellites useful. Those interested in space flight or intelligence efforts will benefit from this revealing look into a little-known aspect of American achievement. Those fascinated by how large, complex organizations work will also find this an intriguing study of inter-service rivalries and clashes between military and civilian cultures.

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US Presidents and the Militarization of Space, 1946-1967

Sean N. Kalic

In the clash of ideologies represented by the Cold War, even the heavens were not immune to militarization. Satellites and space programs became critical elements among the national security objectives of both the United States and the Soviet Union. According to US Presidents and the Militarization of Space, 1946–1967, three American presidents in succession shared a fundamental objective of preserving space as a weapons-free frontier for the benefit of all humanity. Between 1953 and 1967 Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson all saw nonaggressive military satellite development, as well as the civilian space program, as means to favorably shape the international community’s opinion of the scientific, technological, and military capabilities of the United States. Sean N. Kalic’s reinterpretation of the development of US space policy, based on documents declassified in the past decade, demonstrates that a single vision for the appropriate uses of space characterized American strategies across parties and administrations during this period. Significantly, Kalic’s findings contradict the popular opinion that the United States sought to weaponize space and calls into question the traditional interpretation of the space race as a simple action/reaction paradigm. Indeed, beyond serving as a symbol and ambassador of US technological capability, its satellite program provided the United States with advanced, nonaggressive military intelligence-gathering platforms that proved critical in assessing the strategic nuclear balance between the United States and the Soviet Union. It also aided the three administrations in countering the Soviet Union’s increasing international prestige after its series of space firsts, beginning with the launch of Sputnik in 1957.

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