Rocket science is a common term for aerospace engineering and astrodynamics. In common parlance, it’s not rocket science is a phrase meaning it is not difficult to understand.
On October 4, 1957, Sputnik 1 became the first artificial satellite. It was launched into orbit by the former Soviet Union. Media coverage of the Soviet success quickly made the general public aware that rocket science was a scientific endeavor and no longer the stuff of science fiction.
Rocket science has always been perceived as very challenging, and the difficulties faced by the United States in its early launch failures reinforced this idea. Werner von Braun, who contributed greatly to the development of rocket technology in Germany and later in the U.S., said: it takes 65,000 failures before you can build a rocket.
About the Book
This book is intended to explain in everyday language what it takes to launch something into space and explore the universe outside of our little planet. This book is an overview of what is needed for a mission and does not include mathematical analysis of the finer details.
Such an analysis is included in many excellent textbooks, some of which are listed in the bibliography. The remainder of this chapter describes and defines some of the fundamental characteristics of space and rocket science that are mentioned throughout the book. The more technical aspects will be left to the Appendix, and for the sake of simplicity, I will usually refer to all persons who utilize space as astronauts, regard less of their nationality or launching country.