NASA has finally settled its lawsuit with the publishing industry over book scanning. Considering how aggressive Google has been with private publishers, its  handling of government documents seems rather odd.

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of NASA publications on Google Books. Unfortunately, there are no full-text views for these books, only snippet views. Despite the fact that these are government documents and not subject to copyright.

One would think Google Books would know that. Especially given the close relationship between Google and NASA Ames Research Center. Let’s hope Google fixes this situation in the future.

Written by Astro1 on October 5th, 2012 , Books and Resources

"Dressing For Altitude: US Aviation Pressure Suits from Wiley Post to the Space Shuttle" book cover

Dressing for altitude is a technical history that covers US pressure suits from the 1930’s up through the Space Shuttle program. The focus is on “aviation” pressure suits, so the book does not cover the Gemini and Apollo spacesuits, or the Shuttle EVA suit, which are covered well in other publications. It does, however, include the Mercury spacesuit, which was derived from a US Navy aviator’s pressure suit. The Shuttle launch and entry suits are, of course, covered.

This book will be of interest to anyone who’s concerned with commercial spaceflight safety. The ebook is available for free download from NASA.

Written by Astro1 on September 13th, 2012 , Books and Resources, Space Medicine and Safety

Cockpit360 puts you inside the virtual cockpits of more than 50 aircraft from the North American P-51 to the Boeing  747. The views are not simulated; underlying images come from leading aerospace museums (mostly in the Northwest). It would be nice to see future versions including some of the new spacecraft now being developed. The iPhone app is a $5.99 download on the iTunes App Store.

Cockpit360 iPhone app

Written by Astro1 on May 27th, 2012 , Books and Resources, Education

You can subscribe to the online Journal of Small Satellites at no charge through December 31, 2012. Click here to subscribe.

Written by Astro1 on May 11th, 2012 , Books and Resources, Nanosatellites

NASA has released a a couple of e-books on the X-15 suborbital rocketplane.

X-15: Extending the Frontiers of Flight by Dennis R. Jenkins is a very complete (644-page) official history of the program. It was published in December, 2010. The paperback sells for $35 on Amazon but you can download it for free here.

X-15 Research Results (NASA SP-60) by Wendell H. Stillwell is an older technical report. It’s from 1965, so an original hardcopy is probably hard to find. You can download that one here.

X-15 Extending the Frontiers of Flight book cover

Written by Astro1 on March 28th, 2012 , Books and Resources, Space Exploration (General), Space History

Solar Storm Threat Analysis is an interesting paper on the damage potential of solar storms.

Written by Astro1 on March 9th, 2012 , Books and Resources, Planetary Defense, Space Medicine and Safety

Update: XCOR Aerospace distributed a 52-page Lynx Payload User’s Guide on disc at the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference. The guide is expected to be available for download on the XCOR website shortly. 

Citizen scientists who are thinking about flying payloads on suborbital spacecraft are advised to consult the relevant payload user’s guides. For many suborbital companies, these guides are still a work in progress. Some information is now available, though.

Citizen scientists who want to fly payloads on SpaceShip Two can download the Virgin Galactic’s 14-page Payload User’s Guide. Masten Space Systems has a 12-page Payload User’s Guide for its Xero vehicle, available for download here.

Blue Origin provides payload information on its website. XCOR Aerospace has not yet published a Payload User’s Guide but information on basic payload capabilities is available here.

Space Safety is a new magazine. The pilot issue and the first two regular issues are now available as free downloads. Click here to view the download page.

Written by Astro1 on February 16th, 2012 , Books and Resources, Space Medicine and Safety