The building of spaceplanes represents the pinnacle of human endeavor in our time. It is part of the age-old quest to understand and control the forces of nature, to strive for perfection, to scale Mount Olympus itself. It is something we humans must do. And we are doing it. As President John F. Kennedy once said, challenging America to undertake the first Lunar landing program, "We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
Within a few decades, advanced spacecraft will regularly be winging their way to and from the Moon. These Lunar spaceplanes will not only transport thousands of space tourists to and from Lunar resorts, but also serve a vital role in the space infrastructure of the future. How is this possible? For one thing, advanced spacelin-ers will double as space tankers, using their large capacity designs to maximum advantage. For another, they will incorporate very advanced, efficient, and versatile engines. This is just a taste of what is to come. The "Advanced Spaceplane" (Chap. 9) will feature many other superior design traits.
As with the slow and methodical development of the airplane during the twentieth century, the spaceplane will undergo a slow and methodical development of its own during the twenty-first century. This inevitable progress will be seen as a continuation in the evolution of the airplane, which was only temporarily interrupted by the introduction of the ballistic missile at the end of World War II.
What you are about to read is part aerospace history, part rocket science, and part extrapolation - based solidly on the history and the science of aerospace development. It is an honest attempt to share a vision of the future that can, and should, materialize for the benefit of all.
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