Amid a century devastated by war, space exploration was perhaps mankind's greatest achievement of the twentieth century. Yet remarkably, in a world where most technology progresses constantly, space exploration appears to have gone backwards. Man has not returned to the moon since 1972; the space shuttle programme has finished and not been replaced; much-vaunted promises of space tourism have not become realistic. In this remarkable book, David Ashford looks back at the story of space exploration, identifying the factors that were a driving force behind the eye-catching programmes of the cold war, and showing how now new driving forces are needed. Using his own extensive experience as a practitioner and researcher of space exploration, Ashford then outlines a new, realistic roadmap for achieving the new space age soon and at an affordable cost. This accessible and readable book will appeal both to students and general readers, giving a fascinating introduction to space exploration - and what matters most about it.
David Ashford is Managing Director of Bristol Spaceplanes Ltd, an innovative small company developing the Ascender spaceplane. He studied Aeronautical engineering at Imperial College, London, and did postgraduate research at Princeton, before being involved in major projects including Concorde, the Skylark sounding rocket, and missile and electronic warfare projects at Douglas Aircraft and BAE Systems. He has had about 20 papers on space transportation published in the professional press.