General trends in the aviation industry can be traced in John B. Rae, Climb to Greatness: The American Aircraft Industry, 19201960 (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1968). For specific technical development by individuals and organizations in addition to the NACA, see Ronald Miller and David Sawers, The Technical Development of Modern Aviation (New York: Praeger, 1970). The fascinating story of the jet engine, and Europe's leadership in this field, can be found in Edward W. Constant II, The Origins of the Turbojet Revolution (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980). The monographs by Roland and Hansen, cited above, represent other carefully argued viewpoints.
For an informative look at early rocket societies in America as well as abroad, see Frank H. Winter, Prelude to the Space Age: The Rocket Societies, 192440 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983). On the background of German rocketry and Wernher von Braun, see the popularly written study by Frederick I. Ordway III and Mitchell R. Sharpe, The Rocket Team (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1979), based on extensive interviews.
For a summary of the NACA's early postwar aerodynamic activities, see Hansen, Engineer in Charge. The story of the X-1 and the early challenge of the "sonic barrier" are detailed in Richard P. Hallion, Supersonic Flight: Breaking the Sound Barrier and Beyond (New York: Macmillan, 1972). There are further details in Hallion, On the Frontier: Flight Research at Dryden, 1946-1981 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984). The story of Michael Gluhareff and the swept wing is recounted in an article by the same author, "Lippisch, Gluhareff, and Jones: The Emergence of the Delta Planform and the Origins of the Sweptwing in the United States," Aerospace Historian, 26 (March 1979): 110.
As attention began to focus on possible lunar missions, politics and technology played interacting roles, a story that is set out by John M. Logsdon, The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1970). Unmanned exploratory missions to the lunar surface are the subject of Cargill Hall, Lunar Impact: A History of Project Ranger (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977).
Manned launches unquestionably provided drama during the space missions of the 1960s. The Mercury program is covered by Swenson, et al., in This New Ocean. For the official history of the next manned phase, see Barton C. Hacker and James M. Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977). The Apollo missions (through Apollo 11), which formed the centerpiece of America's manned space effort during the decade, are the subject of Courtney G. Brooks, James M. Grimwood, and Lloyd S. Swenson, Jr., Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979). The success of Apollo required development of a family of large launch vehicles and a sophisticated launch complex. These topics are covered in Roger E. Bilstein, Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicles (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980), and Charles D. Benson and William B. Faherty, Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1978).
Although launches from Cape Canaveral inevitably drew hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic spectators, public support of the space program was far from unanimous. A number of writers criticized the program as a cynical mix of public relations and profit- seeking; a massive drain of tax funds away from serious domestic ills of the decade; a technological high card in international tensions during the Cold War. See, for example, Edwin Diamond, The Rise and Fall of the Space Age (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1964); Amitai Etzioni, The Moondoggle: Domestic and International Implications of the Space Race (Garden City N.Y.: Doubleday, 1964); Vernon van Dyke, Pride and Power; the Rationale of the Space Program (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1964).
On the other hand, Richard S. Lewis, a highly regarded scientific journalist, has written a balanced assessment, The Voyages of Apollo: The Exploration of the Moon (New York: Quadrangle, 1974). Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979), is a scintillating essay that emphasizes personalities of the astronauts. Although astronauts are not necessarily considered skillful authors, Michael Collins, Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1974), is an exceptionally well written memoir that is notable for its lucidity, as well as its modesty.
There had been considerable criticism of NASA's emphasis on manned missions, a bias that many observers felt had hindered progress in space science. This issue was somewhat ameliorated by the spectacular unmanned Mars probes of the late 1970s. The Ezell writing team detailed these activities in On Mars: Exploration of the Red Planet, 19581978 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984.)
There was also a significant volume of space science undertaken in the manned missions of Skylab, carefully and skillfully explained by W. David Compton and Charles D. Benson, Living and Working in Space: A History of Skylab (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983).
Science is also an important theme in Clayton R. Koppes, JPL and the American Space Program (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), a book that also elucidates relationships between NASA and its contractors, including the academic community. Space science is the principal theme of Homer E. Newell, Beyond the Atmosphere: Early Years of Space Science (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1980). As a central figure during the years of Vanguard through Shuttle plans of the early 1970s, Newell's is a valuable memoir. For a recent survey, see Paul A. Hanle and V. Chamberlin, eds., Space Science Comes of Age: Perspectives in the History of the Space Sciences (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982).
Elizabeth A. Muenger, Searching the Horizon: A History of Ames Research Center, 19401976 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1985) discusses this center's important role in aeronautics as well as astronautics.
NASA's continuing work in high-speed flight research is chronicled by Richard P. Hallion, On the Frontier: Flight Research at Dryden, 19461981 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984,), a book that covers the X-15, lifting bodies, and the evolution of the Space Shuttle.
Jay Miller, The X-Planes: X-1 to X-29 (St. Croix, Minn.: Specialty Press, 1983), is a useful, heavily illustrated reference work. David A. Anderton, Sixty Years of Aeronautical Research, 19171977 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1978), is a concise, well illustrated summary. Although it focuses on Langley and offers little interpretation, it is a useful guide to NACA and NASA aviation programs.
Hallion, On the Frontier , provides an informative survey of high-speed aeronautical experimentation as well as useful flight test information about the Shuttle. Howard Allaway, "The Space Shuttle at Work," NASA SP432 (1980), a NASA brochure released on the eve of Shuttle operational flights, nonetheless provides good technical background and mission plans.
The destruction of the Challenger is officially assessed in "Report of the President's Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger" (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1968), and offers insights into NASA's political, technical, and managerial characteristics. The agency became the target of many critical books and articles that not only dissected the Challenger incident but discussed perceived flaws throughout the NASA structure. See, for example, Joseph J. Trento, Prescription for Disaster: From the Glory of Apollo to the Betrayal of the Shuttle (New York: Crown Publishers, 1987). Alex Roland, "The Shuttle: Triumph or Turkey?" Discover, 6 (November 1985): 29-49, a cautionary assessment of the Shuttle, appeared three months before Challenger's last mission.
A sense of NASA's varied efforts in energy research, aeronautics, and space science over the past several years can be found in "NASA the First 25 Years, 19581983," NASA EP-182 (1983). NASA has released numerous brochures pertaining to specific projects and missions. See, for example, "Galileo to Jupiter: Probing the Planet and Its Moons," Jet Propulsion Laboratory, JPL 40015 (1979); Joseph J. McRoberts, "Space Telescope," NASA EP-166 (n.d.). These and a wide range of NASA news releases are well illustrated and useful sources. See also NASA's colorful and informative annual report, Spinoff (1976 to date), which includes programs that either are being applied or may be put to use.