History of Rocketry and Astronautics: Proceedings of the 42d History Symposium of the International Academy of Astronautics, Glasgow, United Kingdom, 2008; v. 39 of the AAS History Series, and v. 28 of the IAA History Symposia. By John Harlow, ed. (Series Editor Rick W. Sturdevant). San Diego Calif.: Univelt [for the American Astronautical Society], 2013. Photographs. Illustrations. Notes. Index. Pp. xiii, 345. $95.00 (paperback $75.00) ISBN: 978-087703-589-3
In characteristic IAA fashion, the papers presented are organized according to a theme (in this case, the 50th Anniversary of the International Geophysical Year): memoir pieces, reviews of specific programs, and the history of astronautics in the host nation (the UK).
In some respects, this volume is a companion (even somewhat of a prequel) to its immediate predecessor, which was organized around the theme of Sputnik and its influence. It gets off to an excellent start with a masterful essay by Roger Launius on the tangled story of Eisenhower, Sputnik, and the fallout and circumstances leading to the subsequent creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, arguably the most important as well as most visible result of the shock America experienced with the launch of the first artificial earth satellite. Herve Moulin follows with an excellent study that reminds readers the IGY had a genuinely international character, and that its implications were significant for the formation of other national spaceflight research and development programs--in this case, that of France.
The memoir section of the volume has several notable essays. I found Frank Winter's study of James Wyld particularly compelling, but all are of uniformly high quality: Anne Coleman's study of polymath Robert L. Forward (a onetime gravitational research associate of University of Maryland physicist Joseph Weber); Jean-Jacques Serra (et aid's study of Casimir Coquilhat, an unappreciated Flemish pioneer who enunciated a general theory of rocket propulsion decades in advance of similar work by...