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Opening Space Research: Dreams, Technology, and Scientific Discovery

Series: AGU Special Publications Series Volume: 62

By: George H Ludwig (Author)

478 pages, illustrations

American Geophysical Union

Paperback | Jan 2011 | #230644 | ISBN-13: 9780875907338
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £43.50 $55/€52 approx

About this book

Opening Space Research: Dreams, Technology, and Scientific Discovery is George Ludwig's account of the early development of space-based electromagnetic physics, with a focus on the first U.S. space launches and the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts. Narrated by the person who developed many of the instruments for the early Explorer spacecraft during the 1950s and participated directly in the scientific research, it draws heavily upon the author's voluminous collection of laboratory notes and other papers, upon the Van Allen archive, and upon a wide array of other sources. This book presents very detailed discussions of historic events in a highly readable (semitechnical), first-person form. More than that, though, Opening Space Research brings to the forefront the entire team of scientists who made these accomplishments possible, providing an extensive index of names to enhance and complete the historical record. Authoritative and unique, this book will be of interest to space scientists, science historians, and anyone interested in space history and the first U.S. space launches.


Contents

Foreword ix
Prologue xi

Introduction 1
Special acknowledgments 3

Chapter 1: Setting the Stage at the University of Iowa 5
- Initiating the Iowa cosmic ray program 7
- Inventing the rockoon 10

Chapter 2: The Early Years 21
- Entering opportunity’s door 21
- The summer 1953 rockoon expedition 23
- McDonald's andWebber’s balloon programs, 1953–1955 33
- The summer 1954 third rockoon expedition 36
- A great personal adventure, summer 1955 37
- Discovery of the auroral soft radiation 54
- Anderson's Canadian balloon flights in early 1956 57
- Iowa City balloon flights in March 1956 59

Chapter 3: The International Geophysical Year 67
- IGY inception and early planning 67
- Adding rockets to the program 70
- Artificial Earth satellites 70
- A retrospective view of the IGY 84

Chapter 4: The IGY Program at Iowa 89
- Ground-launched rockets 89
- Projects sometimes failed 94
- Large balloons 96
- Rockoons 102

Chapter 5: The Vanguard Cosmic Ray Instrument 125
Van Allen's cosmic ray experiment
- proposals 126
- Major challenges 127
- Evolution of the instrument design 130
- Assembling and testing the instrument 137
- Final work on the Vanguard instrument 151
- Additional notes on the data recorder 152

Chapter 6: Sputnik! 159
- Early indications of Soviet intentions 159
- Scientists gather to review IGY progress 163
- A memorable cocktail party: The announcement 166
- Closing the conference 170
- Continuing reactions 173

Chapter 7: The U.S. Satellite Competition 177
- Competing launch vehicle proposals 177
- The Stewart Committee and the Vanguard decision 186
- Keeping the Orbiter dream alive 193

Chapter 8: Go! Jupiter C, Juno, and Deal I 213
- Obtaining the approvals 214
- Preparations at Huntsville and Pasadena 216
- A call from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory 217
- A hurried move to California 231
- Building the Deal I satellite 234
- Instrument calibration 235
- The corona discharge problem, again 238
- Environmental testing 238

Chapter 9: The Birth of Explorer I 245
- The first countdown attempts 245
- The Deal I launch: Explorer I in orbit! 247
- Public jubilation 257
- Returning from the Cape 258

Chapter 10: Deal II and Explorers II and III 263
- Building the Deal II instruments 263
- To Cape Canaveral for the Deal II launch 269
- A heartbreaking failed launch attempt 272
- The crash effort for a second try 276
- The Vanguard I launch 280
- A successful Explorer III launch! 280

Chapter 11: Operations and Data Handling 287
- Explorer I operation 287
- Explorer I data acquisition 291
- Explorer III operation 293
- Explorer III data acquisition 295
- Data flow 297
- The ground network 298
- Data tape logistics 305
- Making the data intelligible 309
- Reading and tabulating the information 313

Chapter 12: Discovery of the Trapped Radiation 319
- Iowa's cosmic ray experiment 321
- Early hints of the high-intensity radiation 324
- Examining the Explorer I data 325
- From perplexity to understanding with Explorer III 330
- My hurried move back to Iowa City 336
- The announcement 339
- The Soviets missed the discovery 347

Chapter 13: Argus and Explorers IV and V 359
- Nuclear weaponry and the cold war 359
- The Argus effect and project 361
- NOTSNIK 364
- The Iowa cosmic ray group and Argus 365
- Explorer IV and V preparation and launch 367
- Explorer IV operation 375
- Early unclassified Explorer IV results 376
- Argus results 380

Chapter 14: Extending the Toehold in Space 395
- Completing the first generation 395
- Second-generation spacecraft 406
- An early scorecard 417

Chapter 15: Pioneering in Campus Space Research 421
- The Cosmic Ray Laboratory 421
- Establishing the university's role in space research 425
- Training ground for Space scientists 426

Chapter 16: Some Personal Reflections 429
- Family life 429
- The university scene 431
- Collegial interactions 434
- Public exposure 438
- Physics or engineering 438
- The value of an outstanding mentor 440
- The spirit of the times 441

Epilogue 445
Acronyms and Abbreviations 449
Selected Bibliography 453
Name Index 457
Subject Index 465


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