Honors and Kudos We've Received
| We're delighted to have received so many
awards and testimonials for The Basics of Space Flight. It's our
pleasure to share some of them with you on this page, along with a bit
of the document's history.
How this Workbook Came to Be in the First Place . . .To monitor and command interplanetary robotic spacecraft, JPL's mission controllers need to be grounded in fundamentals of physics and astronomy as relevant to space flight missions, and understand the basics of spacecraft design and mission life cycles. Before 1993, there was no single document that could point mission controllers toward even the spacecraft and mission basics for deep space missions, much less the physics and astronomy basics. So the operations training group (of what was then called the Mission Operations Section), calling on the considerable writing talents of David Doody, a veteran mission controller and amateur astronomer, and George Stephan, training engineer, developed a tutorial workbook with the specific objective of giving mission controllers a context for the task- and mission-specific training they would receive later. The result was the Basics of Space Flight Learners' Workbook, first published internally at JPL in August 1993.
. . . And How It Kinda Got Out of Hand . . .The supervisor of the training group, Larry Bryant, recognizing the general educational value of the workbook, showed it to his daughter's science teacher at La Cañada High School near JPL. The teacher immediately adopted parts of it for use in his classes. The document was quickly cleared for public release, and now, over seven years later, interest in Basics continues to accelerate, as this World-wide Web version becomes internationally known and commended.
To summarize the various forms of dissemination and recognition Basics has enjoyed--
And a few testimonials . . .
"Having just completed your excellent Basics of Space Flight course I wanted to take a moment and say thank you. I have greatly enjoyed the time spent working my way through your course, something I discovered by chance when following a link from the Astronomy Picture Of The Day website. My appreciation of what goes into a mission to space is greater because of what I've learned. I have also found benefit when watching DVD's purchased from Spaceflight Films as it is easier to follow at least some of the conversation between the flight crew and mission control. So, thanks again, and please keep up the good work!"
(from a reader in 2005)
"I just spent a very enjoyable night reading the entire contents of the Basics of Space Flight Learners' Workbook... The entire document is one of the best pieces of work I've encountered on the net, and was just a joy to read (I couldn't put down my workstation,' says happy WWW user!) I'll use it as an example of what a reference work should read like: Fun to read, to the point, packed full of information, and moves quickly. I only wish everything that was tossed onto my desk could be written so precisely."
(from an AOL subscriber)
"I just wanted to say that your Basics of Space Flight Learners' Workbook is very informative. I am currently enrolled in an entry level astronomy class. I was assigned a paper on space travel, and I did not understand well enough the subject to write an accurate and in depth paper. After reading through the workbook, I feel that I am much better informed. As an added bonus, I have become more interested in the subject matter. Your workbook is much better written and more informative than the text we are currently using. All in all, I'd like to commend, praise, and thank you for making such a resource available to the public. It has helped me tremendously."
"I cannot thank you enough for offering this course over the internet. I am at present employed with the USAF as a civilian in the Milstar system. Everything I have read so far has been of great value in reviewing and expanding upon those areas we brushed upon while attending the initial space systems training. Again sir, thank you for filling the void."
(from a reader at a U.S. Air Force Base)
"I was looking for an explanation of one specific thing--the X-band. What it was used for and why, specifically relating to receiving antennas. Not only did I find that, in a real easy-to-digest form, I found a whole encyclopedia of space flight, something I wish I'd had when I first started writing about this stuff 20 years ago. Thanks. Please don't take it off the Web. Should be required reading for anyone in the field or writing about it. I really appreciate it."
(from a university Public Information Coordinator)
"What an excellent piece of work!!! It just completes my admiration of JPL... Thank you for your clear and lucid description of a very complex subject."
(from a reader in the U.K.)
1 The Solar System
2 Reference Systems
3 Gravity & Mechanics
5 Planetary Orbits
7 Mission Inception
9 S/C Classification
11 Onboard Systems
12 Science Instruments
17 Extended Operations
18 Deep Space Network