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How to Build Your Own Spaceship: The Science of Personal Space Travel
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How to Build Your Own Spaceship: The Science of Personal Space Travel

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  111 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Ladies and gentlemen, start your spaceships!

Personal space travel is no longer the stuff of science fiction. The future is here: Civilians are launching into orbit. As early as 2010 paying customers will have the opportunity to experience weightlessness, courtesy of Virgin Galactic's inaugural launch.

How to Build Your Own Spaceship takes readers on a fun and quirky trip t
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by Plume (first published December 31st 2008)
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May 23, 2016 Freymanja rated it liked it
I wish I read this book when I was younger—NOT!
Ever since I was about 10 I wanted to be an aerospace engineer, designing things that will one day, or even regularly, reach the stars, the craters of otherworldly planets, to celestial rings of rock and ice, or even to the methane oceans of Titan. This is my dream, and everything in this book is an okay not-so-great door in learning what it takes to get there.
I feel like the author could have been more in depth, and definitely could've been bett
Cindy Matthews
Jul 19, 2011 Cindy Matthews rated it it was amazing
A great synopsis of the last few decades of space travel, technology and politics. A must read for sci-fi writers and wannabe astronauts. I liked how he made complicated technology easy to understand.
Aug 27, 2016 Sam rated it liked it
A provocatively titled book that somewhat wants to convince you that you can personally participate in the new opportunities of private industry in the space industry. The pasts I liked best are the descriptions of technical things. For examples, the different types of liquid and solid fuel rockets, different launching possibilities. Also great was the listing of companies and their approaches. The book is copyright 2009, so written a bit earlier, so this is somewhat out-of-date, but some things ...more
Mar 30, 2013 David rated it liked it
Somewhat interesting but not very technical. Even worse there are multiple errors that I found distracting. For instance, in my version several times he mentions that a rocket needs to go Mach 9 to reach orbit where as in reality it is closer to Mach 25. Also some of the technical descriptions are inaccurate... perhaps because he is trying to over simplify for the reader- but in some cases he is just wrong. For instance, he states that as the rocket rises in the atmosphere and the atmospheric pr ...more
Josh Bush
Jul 03, 2012 Josh Bush rated it really liked it
An interesting short history of space travel and the ships that have done the traveling is presented in a tongue in cheek format of "instruction" on what steps to take to get into space. This is a nice introduction to space travel which also includes the new space tourism industry as it stood in 2009 (other than the recent successes of the Dragon capsule not a lot seems to have changed since that time).

What the "instruction" format does provide is a second layer of information in the form of opp
Oct 23, 2011 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A personable, conversational, immediate discussion on every aspect of space travel from getting off the ground, getting out of the atmosphere, getting into orbit, getting to various destinations ( space station, moon base, mars colony) and back to the ground securely and safely. Liberally sprinkled with history, insider knowledge about the politics and finances along the way, considering public opinion, public perception, and public relations.All with just enough technical data to make things co ...more
Christopher Obert
Nov 23, 2009 Christopher Obert rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2009
An excellent book, easy to read even thought the technical aspect of the material covered. The text embraces the history and future of space travel as well as relaying the current status of spacecraft design. I originally picked up the book to see what kind of nonsense was within its pages but very quickly found myself not wanting to put this book down. If you are interested in space exploration, rocket science or future business opportunities; this book is for you….
Oct 10, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it
This slim little volume doesn't really teach you how to build a spaceship, but it does a pretty good job of surveying the current crop of innovation in the field. From govt. sponsored programs to the commercial, it covers the whos, hows and whys of spaceship and propulsion designs.

It also does a pretty good job of filling in some of the backstory of the last 40-50 years.

Awesome bibliography. Read "Space Race" because of it and am now reading "Strange Angel".
Sep 07, 2015 Alexa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, space
A must read if you're interested in the slightest about rocket technology and the history behind space travel. Bizony manages to explain seemingly complex concepts in a comprehensible manner and covers a decent range of topics concerning the space industry as a whole. I'm personally looking into purchasing my own copy as a reference book in the near future.
Jun 18, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, space
A good intro to the subject of space travel and up to date as of ~2009, although anyone hoping for blueprints or an "Idiots' Guide" will be disappointed. Might be good for the bookshelves of jr. high/high school science teachers- the title alone will get students' attention, and the explanations are clear enough for beginners. (I think. I may not be the best judge of that.)
Feb 01, 2011 Norbert rated it really liked it
Explains clearly all the challenges that Rocket Science has to overcome and how they dealt with these issues all over history of space travels.
There is also a focus on how private industry can make some business in this industry as of 2009, through innovative solutions to known problems.
Only for people interested in rocket science!!
May 06, 2010 Milan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, non-fiction
Quite unusual book about what you would need to build your own space ship. It does not include an actual manual to build a space ship, but rather a set of thoughts about the challenges one is facing when trying to get to the space and how those challenges may be overcome. Quite a compelling read - if you are into space exploration and technology you'll have fun.
John Bradney
Jun 20, 2013 John Bradney rated it really liked it
A not overly technical but very informative look at the development of crewed spaceflight, past, present and near-future. I enjoyed this read, I learned a few things and enjoyed his way of explaining some concepts I was already familiar with.
Jiwan Beth
Jul 22, 2015 Jiwan Beth rated it liked it
Book is a nice read, but over simplifies a lot of technical aspects making it not very interesting if you know more about the subject. The politics and past and current projects are interesting to read about
Tim Bancroft
Nov 09, 2014 Tim Bancroft rated it really liked it
A fascinating overview of the ins and outs of space travel, the agencies involved and the political and financial issues and machinations currently involved. No wonder neither NASA can get nowhere fast.
Jul 15, 2013 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-info
Mildly amusing. A bit light on the informative side. A more correct title would have been 'How to build your Space Business' because the book's entire angle / tone is about the business side of the new space age. This is by no means a bad thing, this is a rising field and it was interesting
Martin J
Oct 06, 2014 Martin J rated it liked it
Well, interesting-ish. Just proves that if you know a little of most things about a subject then you can probably write a book about it...
iain meek
Jul 20, 2012 iain meek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. A wonderfully sardonic exploration of newspace.

Reread July 2014
Oct 23, 2010 A rated it really liked it
Explains the state of the privatization of space as of 2009 or so. Very interesting with a few technical details.
Feb 20, 2011 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book was a ton of fun. The author's dry British wit made the rocket science entertaining and actually understandable. Anyone who has always wanted to be an astronaut should read this book.
Oct 08, 2013 Sudhir rated it it was amazing
Carol Ferro
Jul 01, 2014 Carol Ferro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Lovely style of writing, a thorough explanation of the history and future of commercial space flight, and the experience of space travel.
I really enjoyed reading this.
Martin Willoughby
Oct 15, 2014 Martin Willoughby rated it really liked it
Interesting book about the realities of space travel.
Mar 01, 2014 Albert rated it liked it
Very informative. I'm Ready to leave this planet.
Mirak096 rated it it was amazing
Jan 04, 2015
Mark rated it really liked it
Apr 12, 2014
Greg rated it liked it
Jan 03, 2013
MikevonB rated it really liked it
May 21, 2014
Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Sep 20, 2015
Nick rated it really liked it
Jul 17, 2013
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Piers Bizony is a science journalist and space historian who writes for magazines such as Focus and Wired as well as the Independent. His award-winning book on Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey was described as 'full of sparkling enthusiasm' by the New Scientist and 'excellent, in every way worthy of Kubrick's original precision-crafted vision' by the Evening Standard.
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