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From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: Books for aspiring rocket scientists?
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2000 21:39:15 GMT

In article <XO%m5.894$>,
Ian Stirling  <> wrote:
>Can anyone suggest other books than
>Suttons "Rocket propulsion elements", or "Modern engineering design
>of liquid-propellant rocket engines"

Books on these topics tend to be scarce, and often old and hard to find.

For engine design:

+ Sutton is the right place to start.  The 6th edition, still in print, is
probably the best.  The 5th is junk.  The 4th is second best, because
while it pre-dates various recent work, and also the switch to modern
(metric) units, it also pre-dates the dumbing-down which produced the 5th
edition.  The 3rd is of some interest, same reasons.  The 2nd and 1st are
too old, historical curiosities only.

+ Huzel&Huang is definitely the next stop.  The AIAA edition, "Modern
engineering for design of liquid-propellant rocket engines", is only
lightly revised from the original NASA SP-125... but there is just enough
new material there that it is nevertheless preferable, especially since
it's in print and the original is hard to find.

+ The third stop is various NASA SPs in the 8000 series.  They are mostly
now available on-line, which is good because they're unfindable otherwise.

+ A useful supplement is Hill&Peterson, "Mechanics and thermodynamics of
propulsion", 2nd ed 1992.  Better coverage of some areas of theory than
Sutton. but watch out for unit-conversion errors in some of the engine
specs given as examples.  Still in print last time I checked, but that
was a while back.

For launcher design in general:

+ Wood, "Aerospace vehicle design, vol. II:  spacecraft design", 1964 is,
despite the title, almost entirely a launcher book, and the only real
tutorial overview of launcher design.  Long out of print and quite scarce.
(Beware, vol. I is an aircraft-design book; it was a standard text in its
time and is okay, but it has nothing to do with launchers, so know what
you're buying.)

+ Seifert&Brown eds., "Ballistic missile and space vehicle systems", 1961,
is of uneven quality -- in particular, the chapters on liquid propulsion
are nearly useless -- but some of it is excellent, e.g. a chapter on
predicting ascent losses.  Long out of print, but findable.

+ Leondes&Vance eds., "Lunar missions and explorations", 1964, is not
primarily a launcher book but has a long and excellent chapter on launcher
design, and a somewhat shorter one on launch facilities.  Somewhat biased
toward very large launchers but still very much worth having.  Long out
of print, but findable.

+ Koelle ed., "Handbook of astronautical engineering", 1961, again is not
launcher-specific, but has much relevant material, terse summaries and
collections of tables, graphs, and reference material not found elsewhere.
Long out of print, findable but you may not like the price.

+ Isakowitz, Hopkins, & Hopkins eds., "Space launch systems", 3rd ed.,
1999.  Reference book on existing launchers, but there's quite a bit of
interesting technical material, and knowing your competition is useful.
In print, from AIAA.  3rd ed. is much better than earlier editions.

There are some other books of interest for specific topics, but that's
a first memory dump on the subject...

Oh, and one un-recommendation:  there's a relevant-looking new book by
Hammond from AIAA, I forget the exact title.  Don't waste your money,
it's worthless junk.

>And lastly, does anyone have any older editions, that they might want to
>part with, if they would be usefull, and are no longer wanted?

You'll have a hard time finding anyone who's still interested in the field
who's willing to part with any of these...  However, Internet used-book
stores like Bibliofind and Alibris are your friends. :-)  You may have to
lurk in wait for a while to get things at the prices you want, though.
Microsoft shouldn't be broken up.       |  Henry Spencer
It should be shut down.  -- Phil Agre   |      (aka

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