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Book Review: Suborbital – Industry at the Edge of Space

July 6th, 2014

Suborbital: Industry at the Edge of Space by Erik Seedhouse;
Springer/Praxis, New York /Heidelberg; $34.99; 2014.

As the dawn of commercial suborbital flight draws closer, author Erik Seedhouse has written an informative book on the topic.

The reader will find splendid accounts of such groups as Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, and XCOR
Aerospace – all vying to create a profitable commercial suborbital spaceflight industry.

Seedhouse is a former astronaut training consultant for Bigelow Aerospace, and has also developed astronaut-training protocols for
future spaceflight participants. In addition, he is a certified commercial suborbital astronaut who will fly a payload mission in the near future, as well as training director for Astronauts for Hire.

This volume delves into numerous topics, such as how the commercial suborbital industry is poised to develop and mature into a fully fledged and viable market. It also details how the new suborbital vehicles will operate in the suborbital environment and how basic and applied research will be conducted in during suborbital flight.

Seedhouse notes that “vehicle builders still face rigorous shake-out schedules, flight-safety hurdles, as well as extensive trial
runs of their respective craft before suborbital space jaunts become commonplace.”

You’ll find this read enjoyable and fact-filled, whether Seedhouse is outlining how to make the most of four minutes of
microgravity, the risks of suborbital flight, dealing with motion sickness, or tips on flying payloads on suborbital vehicles.

I particularly enjoyed a brief history tutorial on suborbital flight. Similarly, very edifying are details regarding the various
spaceports popping up around the globe.

For more information on this book, go to:

http://www.springer.com/engineering/mechanical+engineering/book/978-3-319-03484-3?otherVersion=978-3-319-03484-3

By Leonard David